Beauty and the Beast: This is the Wrong Story for Belle and the Beast

Belle and the Beast stand in front of a winter landscape, Belle holding a rose. The text reads "Disney, Beauty and the Beast."
Image: Disney

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling

Synopsis: A prince is cursed to become a beast for an act of unkindness. He can only be redeemed if someone falls in love with him. Enter Belle, an educated young woman unsatisfied with her life, and willing to do anything to save her father–from the beast who’s imprisoned him.

Verdict: This adaptation is genuinely charming in its execution, but it’s quite faithful to the Disney version, and fixes none of the major flaws of its predecessor. If you liked Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, you’ll probably like this one—it’s not that different. Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast: This is the Wrong Story for Belle and the Beast”

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Character Journeys in Once Upon a Time: the Savior, the Evil Queen, and Rumplestiltskin

The last time I talked about Once Upon a Time, I posted an overview of the show’s pros and cons over its six season run. And there were plenty of both.

Now I’d like to get into more detail about the character journeys, and how I felt about their development. I’ll start off with the three characters who drive the show, the ones with the most agency. Emma Swan, daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, the Savior who wields light magic. Regina, the Evil Queen who hates Snow White–and who unknowingly adopted Snow White’s biological grandson. And Rumplestiltskin, a dark wizard who’s always playing his own game. Continue reading “Character Journeys in Once Upon a Time: the Savior, the Evil Queen, and Rumplestiltskin”

Once Upon a Time: At Its Best When Breaking the Mold, at Its Worst When Following It

The face of a woman off to the side, with an apple in front of her, half black and half red. The words "Once Upon a Time" fill the other side of the image.
Image: ABC

Genre: Fantasy/Fairy tale retelling

Synopsis: Emma is living on her own and working as a bail bondsman, when the boy she’d given up for adoption at birth appears on her doorstep. There’s nothing for it but for her to bring the kid back to his adoptive mother–who he insists is the Evil Queen. The Evil Queen, who cast a curse on fairy tale characters, trapping them in our world with no memories of who they are. While Emma is supposed to be the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, capable of breaking the curse. Continue reading “Once Upon a Time: At Its Best When Breaking the Mold, at Its Worst When Following It”

We Don’t Live in a Homogenous World: List of 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Works

There are plenty of authors from underrepresented groups writing fantastic science fiction and fantasy, and they’re equally deserving of publicity and support. It’s also important to remember that media can be powerful. It influences how we view the world, and what we think of as normal. That kind of power needs to be in the hands of people with wide ranges of perspectives, so that audiences are introduced to different ideas. So that everyone has a voice. Continue reading “We Don’t Live in a Homogenous World: List of 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy Works”

The Bear and the Nightingale: Independent Heroines, Folkloric Settings, and the Struggle for Personal Freedom

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Image: Random House

Genre: YA fantasy

Synopsis: In Lesnaya Zemlya, the old religion coexists with the new, both of them in practice by the people of the land. This is the world Vasilisa grows up in. She attends church, then leaves offerings for the spirits of the land and household. Moreso, unlike the rest of her community, she can see and speak with these spirits. Continue reading “The Bear and the Nightingale: Independent Heroines, Folkloric Settings, and the Struggle for Personal Freedom”

The Wolf Among Us: Powerful Characterization, Immersive World

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Image: Telltale Games

Genre: Interactive mystery/adventure/urban fantasy

Synopsis: All the characters we’ve heard of in fairy tales are real, but they’ve long since fled their homelands to find refuge in our world. Referring to themselves as Fables, Snow White, Bluebeard, and the Little Mermaid all live in an NYC neighborhood, policing each other. Continue reading “The Wolf Among Us: Powerful Characterization, Immersive World”

Crimson Bound: Fairy-tale Retellings, and not becoming a monster

Borrowed from rosamundhodge.net

Genre: YA fairy tale retelling

Synopsis: Rachelle is one of the few who knows and believes that the Devourer, and old evil defeated by the legendary twins Tyr and Zisa, is soon returning. Believing that it’s her responsibility to do something, to find out how to defeat this, she makes a mistake. Continue reading “Crimson Bound: Fairy-tale Retellings, and not becoming a monster”

Uprooted: Skillfully Crafted YA Fantasy, Building on Itself to Reach Poignant Character Moments

Borrowed from naominovik.com

Genre: YA fantasy (it becomes too epic for me to classify it as a fairy tale retelling, which tend to be more contained in scope).

Synopsis: Agnieszka lives in a village on the edge of a dark magical Wood, where monsters creep and from which they occasionally invade. A wizard they call the Dragon protects them from this predatory magic. And every ten years, the Dragon takes away a girl, always the same age. The girls come back at the end of their time, but they never stay, venturing out to find new lives, taking with them a dowry provided by the wizard. Continue reading “Uprooted: Skillfully Crafted YA Fantasy, Building on Itself to Reach Poignant Character Moments”