Wednesday, July 4, 2018

From the G Shelf...

Author:  Camille Griep
Title:  Letters to Zell


Excerpts:

Dearest Zell,
     What am I supposed to do without you? You and I didn't start out as royalty--me the little cinder girl and you Rapunzel, prisoner of the Tower. We complemented our eccentric princesses, the four of us a perfect team. Now we're like a three-legged goat.... The thing is, I had no idea that you wanted anything other than the life we're currently living. ....We've all lived beneath the weight of our Pages for so long that wanting something of our own volition feels dangerous. We aren't like the lucky ones waltzing around as they choose. You and I had to live out unpredictable stories penned by a capricious author. It's true we're free now, but I've never dreamed of admitting I still want more than what I already have ... 

We're all at risk of becoming imprisoned within our own mirrors. By our expectations of ourselves.

Happily Ever After isn't an ending, it's the journey we take from here.


Thoughts:

Camille Griep takes the stories of four princesses--Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel--and weaves them all together in her own imaginative interpretation of what happens when each princess tries to make her own dream come true. It's humorous and unexpected, and written entirely in letters. Which is one of the reasons I checked it out. I really like epistolary novels! I also liked how Griep drew from the Grimm versions of these tales as the basis for hers--and the characters' reactions when they visited Disneyland and saw the skewed Disney versions of their stores was VERY funny. But what I didn't love was how Griep chose to portray these four well-known fairy tale characters. While they had spunk and were distinct from one another, they were also childish, self-absorbed (Cinderella), a little whiny, a little spineless (especially Briar Rose), and kind of irritating at times. And Bianca (Snow White) used the f-word WAY too much. One other small thing bugged me:  Rapunzel left Grimmland to go tend unicorns in Oz, only there aren't unicorns in Oz. There never were! And I have L. Frank Baum's fourteen Oz books to back me up on this! Still, Letters to Zell is a pretty fun read. Not perfect. But fun. And I did like how Griep wrapped things up at the end. All in all, I'd give it 3/5 stars.

Happy Reading!


P.S. Happy Fourth of July ...especially to everyone in America! I hope you all have a wonderful Independence Day!

22 comments:

  1. Even with your warning about the characters themselves, this one does sound like fun. I am a little disappointed in the characterization you describe, but I am a sucker for epistolary novels. :)

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    1. It might be worth reading just for that. And maybe her characters wouldn't bother you as much as they did me.

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  2. Ugh. I think the whining would annoy me too much.

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    1. Yeah, some of these princesses really got on my nerves after awhile. But I still managed to finish. :)

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  3. Hi Lark, I'm wondering if the author should have focused her novel on only one of these classic fairy tale characters. To tackle all four and then throw in Oz is very ambitious but hard to pull off. I like epistolary novels too and I particularly like novels entirely written in diary form. I enjoyed Rose Red a great deal.

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    1. Epistolary novels are the best! And I think you're right, if this author had stuck with just one princess, or maybe two, I think it would have been better. :)

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  4. I love epistolary novels too. They read faster than "normal" books somehow.

    Love that you caught the Oz mistake! I would have never noticed. :)

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    1. I read a lot of Oz books growing up! :) And I agree about epistolary novels...plus, reading letters is fun.

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  5. Ooh, this does sound like a fun read. I really enjoy epistolary novels. Great review! :)

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    1. I love epistolary novels, too. :)

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  6. This does sound fun! And I have to see their reactions to Disneyland . . . Haha

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    1. That was one of my favorite parts. :)

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  7. Sounds like a fun read but I think having four princesses in one story seems a little too much for me to handle. :p

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    1. I think it being written in letters made it a little easier, but I also think having fewer probably would have been better. :)

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  8. She turned Snow White into me?! How weird, haha. It seems like she took on a wee bit too much here. Maybe a closer focus on one of them would've made for a better book.

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    1. :D I think you're probably right.

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  9. I like your honest review on how it is a fun book,but not perfect. I've loved "fractured fairy tales" since I was a kid - and this sounds like it might be fun to read.

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    1. Give it a try and let me know what you think of Griep's take on these characters! :)

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  10. I do enjoy epistolary stories as well. Sounds like fun except for the changes to the characters. They actually sound a bit annoying. Glad you enjoyed this spin on fairy tales. Wonderful review, Lark! :)

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    1. I wanted this one to be better because I love good epistolary novels, too, but.... Can't win them all! :D

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  11. I like fairy tale retellings, and I enjoy humorous books, but something about this one doesn't sit well with me. I think it's your description of how the characters are portrayed. I think I'll stick to Jim C. Hines's The Stepsister Scheme for a book that combines post-fairytale Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty.

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    1. Ooh, I should try that one! Thanks for the rec. :)

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