Toothiana Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies

The Guardians: Book Three

by William Joyce

“But that was past. This was a different day. And through the friendship he now knew, he could change bad men to good and stone back to flesh” (Joyce, 12).

Chapter One

This book has a beautifully structured plot.

Like E. Aster Bunnymund and the Warrior Eggs at the Earth’s Core! this one begins in Santoff Claussen with the children. They are playing games and it’s actually cute: “In this new game of Warrior Egg tag, to be scrambled meant you had been caught by the opposing egg team and therefore, had a lost a point” (1). There’s a touch of cleverness with the children’s game-naming.

This opening, rather than feeling out of place, works for me. I don’t mind the other children so much. My previous association and attachment to them from Book 1 and Book 2, makes me glad to see them happy. Additionally, the peaceful, happy set-up into story is a relief after the battle at the Earth’s core and North’s near death. I feel good seeing the characters this way.

The chapter proceeds to explain what the children and the Guardians have been doing since their last fight with Pitch. One thing I liked was how

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Surviving Objectives

Day 39: March 11

Flowers flare like fire, ignited inspiration and potential; many objectives suddenly bloom, busy and bustling as bees. But the fire, in a short while, dwindles until there is only a flickering ember. Of the many inspired flares, perhaps one survives. And the others fade from memory, a repetitive scars of scorched earth building over and over atop one another, on and on and on…

[64]

Ash

by Malinda Lo

Today’s the 67th Anniversary of Disney’s animated Cinderella. While not one of my favorites renditions, this post seemed appropriate.

🌳

I finished this book a couple years ago and I’ve been meaning to reflect on it.

First it was simply good, and second it was very much a retelling of Cinderella. 

That is, I could tell where there were little twinges of the original Grimm tale, such as the presence of the mother’s grave being important and the symbolism of trees. It made me want to read more novel length reinterpretations of fairy tales (which I have done) and write a more fairy-tale focused story myself (which is still gestating).

At the same time, now that I’m beginning my foray into novel-length reinterpretation on fairy tales (yay!), I have to admit that Ash also appealed to my artistic writer sensibilities.

Spoilers below

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The Birth of the Firebringer

Trilogy

by Meredith Ann Pierce

When Alma created the world, most of it she made into the Great Grass Plain, which was not a flat place, but rolling like a mare’s back and covered all over with the greencorn and haycorn and the wild oats, knee high, so that when the wind stirred it, billowing, it looked like a mare’s winter coat blowing (1)

I loved the opening and ending and the tone it lent to the entire book.

I loved the subtle way it developed. I love her writing. I love how she takes mythological creatures and gives them culture. And on top of that, there is a sense of beauty in all the creatures, even the “bad” ones (the wyverns).

It scarcely resembled anything he had imagined of wyverns from the singers’ tales: white and sinuous, yes, but not noxious, not hideous. Very lithe and supple, rather –almost…almost beautiful (156).

But that’s part of the message, I think. It’s big, it’s broad. I really like it.

I love the developed world, the nuances, the idea of stolen land.

Oh, I loved the “children of the moon” bit and the correlation between the moon and Alma. I also especially liked the milkweed plants.

132-134).

It just really resonated with me. I really loved this book. Highly recommend it.

Although it does have a trippy out of body experience, and the conclusion with who Firebringer is, is kind of obvious I thought. Especially with his strong hotheaded behavior.

But I really couldn’t guess who the narrator was. The sudden shift from third person to first person was a little jarring.

One of my personal favorite scenes was when Jan and Dagg get lost and see the pans dancing and storytelling and fire-making.

“The pans were coming into the glade.

They moved in a long file, a whole band of them, and made themselves into a Circle… And then, within the Circle under the moon, three pans began to dance. Goat-footed, high-stepping, they moved and swayed.

“They dance,” Jan murmured, with a start of surprise.

Dagg shook his head. “Only the unicorns dance.”

But it was so” (92).

It was the first time Jan began to realize there was more cultures and ways of seeing than just the Circle’s way. That and that maybe what the Circle claims is true is questionable.

“Jan shook his head again, but kept his tongue. It WAS speech, he was sure of it. Then that legend of the pans in the old lays must be false. The goatlings were NOT speechless, had not turned away the Mother’s gift. The discovery astonished him” (93).

The other reason I liked the scene was the way it very smoothly presented the idea that just because someone seems “primitive” or the stories you hear claim someone is, doesn’t mean they or their culture is. Communication, beauty, and value in a specific culture, ethnic, or species (in the case of the book) is unique to that specific culture, ethnic or species group. It should be seen as beautiful for its own sake/as it is.

But this tale marks only the first night of my telling. Come to me tomorrow evening, and I will tell you the rest. (234)

The Last Unicorn

by Peter S. Beagle

“The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone” (Beagle, 1).

word of warning: Spoilers are contained below, so if you’ve never read The Last Unicorn I would recommend not reading below the cut

What can I say about The Last Unicorn? From the moment I read the first sentence of the Amazon preview I was hooked. There’s an immediacy to it that snares me. It may be the rhythm of the words or visual and aromal sensations called up by lilacs. Or maybe a bit of both. But I think most of all, it’s the  daintiness (evoked by the short sentence and “lilacs”) interposed on the fact she is alone. Why is she alone? And that question, coupled with the prettiness, pulls me in every time.

Additionally, there’s just something so poetical and lyrical about the writing. I’m normally not one to notice such style, though I have been known to adore pretty writing – i.e. writing that evokes a pretty or vivid visual in my head. That’s here too, but I was struck how the words themselves seemed to have flow to them. I think it helped lure me into the story.

Examples

On a personal level, there’s so many subjects addressed in The Last Unicorn that mean the world to me. Before I get into those, I want to mention that in my re-read, I noticed other themes: death, immortality, illusions, true self, and possession vs inspiration. Someday I may write more about them and how they manifest in the story. Until then, here’s some of the subjects that mean the world to me.

First, unicorns. Compared to other mythical creatures, they do fascinate them more than most. I think it has something to do with their range: they can be dainty and vain or deadly and ferocious or kind and ethereal. They can purify polluted water or demand impossible standards of goodness.

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After Alice

By Gregory Maguire

“What would Eurydice tell us if Orpheus had been able to bring her back?” (273).

First, I think I might like stories about children being lost in weird and insensible places. Full of talking animals and odd characters and unknown dangers. That sort of thing.

Second, I’ve never been fond of Maguire’s writing. But I did enjoy After Alice. Some of this is probably because of my observation above and the fact that I was able to actually understand what was happening and the build up didn’t turn out to be a commonality (such as a daydream or an illusion).

It also presents a perspective on the underworld that I had not considered (though considering a certain story, a character, and other plot points, it’s surprising I hadn’t considered it). Namely, the underworld is associated with death. It is, after all, where some people bury the deceased. It’s the tomb of the unknown. Who knows what’s down there?

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The Horse and His Boy | Characters

from The Chronicles of Narnia

by C. S. Lewis

“‘I say, Aravis, there are going to be a lot of things to get used to in these Northern countries'” (Lewis, 206).

As I said previously:

I happened to find this on my bookshelf while organizing my piles of writing into binders and read it over the weekend. Of the seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia, this has always been my favorite. Which is probably why it’s the only one I have with full color illustrations (and which was the specific edition that I read).

The story takes place during “the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Narnia and his brother and two sisters were King and Queens under him” (3). How this happened and who they are is explained in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and their reign (the Golden Age) mentioned.

My main question while reading it was: why did I like it so much, or what made it likable to me? What, if anything, made it stand out against the other Narnian books?

Last time, I discussed how the culture of Calormen is meant to caricature the culture and tone of the 1001 Nights but without Islam, seeing as Calormene worship multiple gods.

In fact when I started reading, I tried to wrap my head around the presentation of the Calormene natives (Bree’s owner and Arsheesh, Shasta’s fisherman father). Both seemed written to be dislikable. And this brought to my mind the idea of characters flaws and how non-white (or non-English coded) characters are portrayed in the story.

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Seven Daughter and Seven Sons

by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy

I was so exited when I found this book. As part of a long planned move, I’ve been plowing through old boxes to get rid of unnecessary items and one of the treasures I came across was this book. I’d always remembered it, but for years I didn’t know where it had vanished to. Imagine how thrilled I was to find it!

So without further, let’s talk about Seven Daughters and Seven Sons.

The beginning – it was so exiting to read it!

“These are the words written long ago by Buran, daughter of Malik, a poor shopkeeper of Baghdad. She put them down so that her children, and their children, and their children, and all those who came after them would know of the remarkable events that had given rise to their illustrious lineage… Read these words, then, and open your eyes wide in amazement at the marvels that Allah has wrought” (1)

The basic story follows the fourth daughter (Buran) of seven who dresses up and disguises herself as a young man and becomes a successfully rich merchant to help her poor family.

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Fairy Tale Friday: Princess of the Tower

Rapunzel

and Other Maiden in the Tower Tales From Around the World

Since it’s May I will be focusing exclusively on Rapunzel or ATU 310 Maiden in the Tower tales.

Princess of the Tower (94-101)

ATU 310 Maiden in the Tower

So Princess Solima was put into a fortress by the sea by her father, the king, because she had no qualms about marrying a poor man. (Seriously, I should write a crossover with this fairy tale and Disney’s Aladdin.)

At this point, our tale transitions to the poorer people. None of them precisely know why she’s gone, and we learn that “[e]ven the laborers of the fields…heard the news” and that one shepherd was an especially thoughtful thinker. He would

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Gateway of Mist

Day 188

MIST CURLED UP from leaf littered forest floor. Spiraling around the trunks of birch, it slunk across the open meadow. It’s ethereal ivory tendrils glowed faintly; raindrops danced against the grass, flashing mysterious jewels in the mist. As it crept closer to the house, I heard the quietest rustle, like pages being turned. Something had crossed over from the land of the dead. 


Written: 1 April 2016

Words: 63 

Inspired: weather

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