Sunday, August 14, 2011
Word of Mouth-The Princess Series
Yep, I know it`s been a long time since my last book review, and I am sorry about that. There is a reason though, I wanted to complete the trilogy and present them to y`all as a whole. (Actually I believe there is a fourth book due out sometime this year but we`ll work with these three)
This time around we`ll be passing some word of mouth about a delightful series of books written by Jim C. Hines called the Princess Series. The first of the series is called ‘The Stepsister Scheme’, the second ‘The Mermaid`s Madness’ and the third ‘Red Hood`s Revenge’. Now from the titles I`m sure you have worked out that these tales are based on some of the most popular fairy tales of our time. You`re right, they are, now here comes the but-BUT they are not the fairy tales, or heroines, that we grew up with! You will be hard pressed to find Cinderella, Snow White or Sleeping Beauty in these books sitting, or lying around waiting for a prince to come rescue them!
Oh no, not these ladies! Mister Hines does a wonderful job of recasting three of the most classic heroines of all time. He gives us a trio of women that are now action heroines and secret agents that move smoothly in a world filled with magic, treachery and high adventure! They`re like the Charlie`s Angels of the Hans Christian Anderson set!
In the first book, ‘The Stepsister Scheme’ we meet our new Cinderella after she returns from her honeymoon with her husband Armand, the prince of Lorindor. There were some glass slippers in her past, not to mention a wicked stepmother and as the title indicates, two very scheming stepsister`s! We find out after Prince Armand is kidnapped, that his mother, Queen Beatrice has two young women, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, who serve as her secret agents unbeknownst to anyone. Right off the bat Mister Hines gives us three women who go out, kick rump and save the prince this time!
The second book, ‘The Mermaid`s Madness’ will forever change how you view the tale of the Little Mermaid. We all know the old story, how a young mermaid princess meets a human prince and falls in love. Her love was so innocent and her devotion so pure that she would give up anything for her prince, even her voice or her life. Yeah, okay, toss that aside because this retelling gives us a dark world and a mermaid princess that is NOT swimming about singing lovely songs with a crab! Once more Danielle (Cinderella), Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow are called upon to help save their beloved Queen Bea, the land of Lorindor and the merfolk themselves.
The third book, ‘Red Hood`s Revenge’ brings our action heroine trio back as they set out to the faraway desert land Arathea that Talia (Sleeping Beauty)once called home. This time there are numerous foes the threesome encounter, not the least of which is Roudette, an assassin sent after Talia who wears a red hooded cape. The Lady of the Red Hood, as she is known here, finds herself embroiled in a conflict between fairies and humans having to work with the only woman that has ever fought the wearer of the wolf cape and survived-Talia. We learn a great deal about this new dark Red Riding Hood, and about the cape, the wolf and the hunter, but they aren`t what I knew as a child!
Mister Hines does a grand job of keeping the action quick-paced and the landscapes vivid and engaging. The heroines sure do take those old princesses clichés and toss them out the castle window! His retellings are dark and sometimes gritty, yet his humor lightens some of the darker overtones very nicely. There is some romance, but it is glossed over. I myself wished for a little more spice when the prince and princess are alone in their royal suite, but even without heated bedplay this series is a very enjoyable one.
I would recommend it to anyone with a daughter old enough to read and grasp the feminist ideals Mister Hines serves us. This is one series that will help empower our girls and show them that the days of sitting meekly on a tuffet, or hiding in an attic while we wait for a man to come to our aid is long gone! You go girls!!