"Since I can remember, my eyes have always grown big at
tales of the marvelous."
- L. Frank Baum
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How can you lose with this premise? Nicole always thought she was normal, until she catches her husband in bed with another woman, and in a fit of anger–turns the other woman into a mouse. And that’s only the beginning of Loose Changeling by A. G. Stewart. So, a disclaimer: I’m friends with the author, a member of my writing group. But that really just means that I have a fuller appreciation for what an amazing writer she is!
So after the mouse incident, Nicole finds out that she’s a Changeling, a member of the Fey raised by humans–the only Changeling, since Changelings were banned more than a thousand years ago. Nicole is plunged into Fey politics, a lot of monsters want to kill her, she can only use her magic when her soon-to-be-ex husband is in the room to make her angry enough, and her only guide through it all is a Fey bodyguard who is distractingly attractive and, even more problematic, keeps getting caught in lie after omission after half-truth. All she really wants to do is go back to her desk job, where all her office supplies are perfectly lined up and the world makes sense.
This is a fast-paced, exciting book with a lot of twists that held my interest with never a falter. There are some exciting battles and confrontations, but the book is just as engaging when Nicole is learning magical abilities or trying to process the emotional roller coaster she’s going through. It’s a nice balance of action, character development and, as I always appreciate, dots of humor here and there too. Continue reading
“Do not tell people how to live their lives. Just tell them stories, and they will figure out how those stories apply to them.”
– Randy Pausch
You all know how I am about retold fairy tales, especially ones with a twist. I certainly couldn’t resist The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling, retelling Cinderella from a very unusual perspective.
Kat is a typical modern teenager…who suddenly finds herself trapped inside the world of a storybook. Specifically, Cinderella–but not as the heroine. Kat is one of the stepsisters, and she won’t be able to get out of the story and go home until the book achieves its happy ending. But the other stepsister is gorgeous and vying for the prince, the prince has no interest in balls or marriage, quiet and obedient Elle definitely won’t be pursuing the prince herself…and also, it’s hard work being in Society. Kat could desperately use a fairy godmother, but none seems to be in sight.
I enjoyed the fish-out-of-water aspect of this, as modern Kat tries to cope with a (more or less) Victorian world. Between corsets, curtsies and dull society calls, not to mention watching her modern slang, Kat struggles to find her way. Her anachronistic status takes a more serious turn when she ends up confronting the harshness of child labor in the factories. Her modern sensibilities drive her towards efforts at reform. Continue reading