Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Once Book Review

Rawr Reader,

    I need a break from war. Also I don't have the next and last book in the The Bronze Horseman trilogy so I can't finish it. So I figure why not next dip into the worlds of fairy tale-- retellings. This is Once by Cameron Dokey which binds three retellings: Cinderella (Before Midnight), Rapunzel (Golden), and Mulan (Wild Orchid). Actually the Mulan one might have war, but I don't think it will be that bad. ^^
   The synopsis was typed from the back of the book:

Cendrillon has been forbidden by her father to ever leave their estate grounds, much less visit the king's courts. With a royal ball approaching, Cendrillon will now challenge her understanding of love and test her courage in BEFORE MIDNIGHT.

In GOLDEN, Rapunzel, bald and without hope of growing hair, must break an enchantment to free her heart—and the heart of another. But a sorceress's betrayal threatens to overwhelm Rapunzel, which could leave the two cursed forever if she can't trust in love.

Disguised as a boy, Mulan joins the military in WILD ORCHID. But she never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in Prince Jian, the commander of her division. For all of her courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with the prince?

I remember always wanting this book when roaming down the aisles at the bookstore before going into my crazy reading phase, which I'm still in. I bought it and finally almost a year later I'm reading it.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   There were things I liked about this book that weren't in the fairy tales. I least I don't think so, I haven't read them yet.
    But now after finishing them, something I didn't like in all three of these stories was out of 200 pages, the first 100 pages had nothing to do with romance but with establishing the girl in her home. 

       I thought the writing was really pretty and fairy taley from the first chapter. I was immediately drawn into it, though the pacing was a little slow for me. 
     I found this one not to be as romanticy as I thought, concentrating more on the relationship with Cendrillon's new stepmother and sisters than the romance and the ball. I hope the other stories aren't like this. 
     And also I was extremely confused at certain points and had to reread several pages multiple times to understand. 
    Otherwise I quite enjoyed the story. Cendrillon and the chemistry she had with the other characters: Raoul, Old Mathilde, Chantal de Saint-Andre (the stepmother), Anastasia, and Amelie, were so lovely and separate and Cendrillon is just the humble country girl she's always depicted as. And I have to say even though this story is short as it is, and Cendrillon didn't meet the prince Pascal till the end, I really did love them together and thought the ending was cute.

I give this story 3/5 stars.

     Alright I had trouble wrapping my head around a bald Rapunzel. But by the end, I found it tear jerking and beautiful. Ambivalence at its finest.
    I prefer this one over BEFORE MIDNIGHT because there weren't as many characters, and there weren't as many mixed signals between girls and guys. Ergo I as the reader wasn't reading too into certain actions and words. That'd be something I wish the editor cleared up with the author; don't confuse the reader because chances are I'm not going to be with the writer to explain anything, and I'll just end up disliking or resenting the story.
     I loved all the characters, except perhaps Rue. I don't know she reminded me a lot of Anastasia from BEFORE MIDNIGHT, but unlike Anastasia, it wasn't easier to forgive her. While I could see her point in how she acted and what she thought, I just couldn't like her.
     At the end of the story, I really liked the message, what Rapunzel learned, and the twist. Beauty and first impressions are closely associated because it's from there that people judge them and decide for themselves whether they'll continue the relationship as friends or more. So now when I think about first impressions, I'm just going to think about Rapunzel.    

I give this story 4/5 stars.

   Yup. I liked this story the least.
    I firstly need to state that when people in charge of publishing books begin to write the synopsis in the back, they need to be accurate. I won't say what they were wrong about in this section, but yeah, they were very wrong.
    I actually can't really see much of a twist in this story out of the three. It's pretty much the same, the girl isn't like other girls and she goes to war for her father and is the hero and savior to China. I'd say the only difference is there's no Mushu. ^_^
    I will say that I loved Li Po, he sounds like the king of best friend that'd I want beside me no matter what. Not that I don't already have a best friend like that, but a guy equivalent I would want Li Po. He teaches Mulan how to read, write, sword fighting, archery, and he's so loyal that'd he even marry her if he had to just so that they would both be with someone who understood them. 

I give this story 2/5 stars.

Overall I rate this book 3/5 stars.

Author's Quote:
"I'd like to tell you that I fell in brave and stoic silence, but the truth is that I shrieked like an outraged cat the whole way down."
—Cameron Dokey, Once: Wild Orchid

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Goddess by Josephine Angelini

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   I don't know. 
    While I love how the stories are written and told, she makes revealing secrets and truths incredibly confusing. Because of this I had trouble liking the stories which is unfair since it's only one small thing that makes me turn away from it.

          One part that I was utterly confused in was when Raoul came to the ball and confronted the prince Pascal. I didn't understand that it was someone else and not Cendrillon-- but then it couldn't be her. But then I was confused about what was happening until Niccolo explained it. 
    Another part I was confused in was Niccolo. I thought he liked Cendrillon but then a couple pages later when they were at the dinner table the day after Cendrillon reveals she's the daughter of Etienne de Brabant, he suddenly has eyes for Amelie. I mean, when he brought the stepmother and daughters to the house, he greeted Cendrillon by saying that "none of the beauties of court compare to you." I was just waiting for some sort of romance, and I guess I was a little disappointed in that. If the book didn't say
    Oh yes, another confusing thing was in the beginning when Niccolo was explaining the king and queen and a brother and something about war. I still don't really get it. From what I understood it was something about the queen conspiring to get the king killed so she her son could be king, but only under her control (even though he was sent away to study and be raised elsewhere.) 
   When the author described the prince, he sounded as he would be 17 or 18, but he's only 15 and that fact made their first meeting seem a little untrue. I know he needs to be mature and all, but it didn't sound like someone his age. So I was a little thrown off there. 
    I really love the chemistry between Raoul and Cendrillon and though sad as it is for me to say this, I understand why they couldn't be together. (Though I was rooting for them.) They grew up together, they were like siblings, and the true love connection wasn't there. And with Anastasia, ugh I didn't like her at all! But he changed and I was able to allow the union of Raoul and Anastasia instead. 
     I really do love the twist, that Cendrillon was able to earn the love of her stepmother while it is the father who does not bear the love. It showed so much for both the mother and the daughter and how good their hearts were.

         I don't really see the sorceress Melisande betrayal. I don't see what she did that made the wizard curse the daughter. Was it something like she had the power to see people but she refused to look into the selfishness of the daughter's heart? If I'm wrong, it's the author's fault.
         After reading BEFORE MIDNIGHT, I was scared to read into Harry's actions. Was he falling in love with Rue? Was he going to leave Rapunzel, even though they'd only known each other for three years opposed to Cendrillon and Raoul who had known each other their entire lives? I hoped not. Then WILD ORCHID wasn't going to look promising. I guess not all stories can be as predictable as I'd like. 


        Well I found this story difficult to like.
    First off, near the end, on page 586 Mulan says she grew up. I beg to differ, she did not! She had it so easy. Ever since she arrived at the camp Li Po and General Yuwen made her life so easy. Yeah sure she got a lot of looks and such but after her little competition with the prince everyone looked up to her. She even was promoted to lead an army up to one point even though she refused. And this girl is only 14. I mean, cmon! 
    Then there's the whole synopsis. And it isn't solely with this story, the other two stories were misleading as well. The first 100-150 pages out of 200 pages is dedicated to what the synopsis is about. And honestly whatever was said in the first 100-150 pages could have been condensed to 50 pages. Because 1 page for the "epic" battle and 6 pages for the emperor and Mulan having a word battle as to what she should be rewarded was annoying. 
     I didn't like how Mulan fell in love with Prince Jian called him her soul mate after a couple pages. In a sense all three of these stories did that-- made each romantic pairing instantaneously fall in love with the other in a page or so -- but this one just bothered me the most. Maybe it's because it took me many days to finish this story, but nonetheless, I wasn't drawn into this story as much. I love Disney's movie so much perhaps.
     And that ending was disappointing. Prince Jian just coincidentally reciprocated her feelings. Of course. Because then this twist fairy tale might actually not be good. I'm sorry, that comes out really harsh, but I heard this was the best one and it just easily became my least favorite. I hadn't read in several days and this wasn't a good start, so my feelings may have come out more raw. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

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