Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Random thought from the stacks

Things I've said at work today:
"That's why I prefer to email, you can't backspace in real life"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Random thought from the stacks

Sometimes working in reference is the absolute best.
For example, best question of the week: 
“I need the definition of alternative rock or pop.” 
after definition has been given, 
“So is that more satanic or christian?”

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Book Review: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Ravenspire is a kingdom that has been usurped by an evil Queen: Irina. After only a few years after her marriage to the King, she killed him and his children becoming the sole ruler of a vast kingdom.

Or so she thinks.

In reality the children, Lorelai and Leo,  survived, fleeing the castle and their fates with one sole companion/caretaker. Years later, Irina’s rule has taken it’s toll on the land and its people, years of drought have left most of the common folk starving.

Luckily, Lorelai is ready to reclaim what is rightfully hers. And she has a plan. First, win back the loyalty of the people by stealing supplies out from under Irina’s nose and give them those who desperately need it. Then go after Irina.
There’s only a few problems. First, Lorelai is uncomfortable with the magical powers she possesses because of her inability to save her father as a child, and having learned everything she knows about magic from Irina. The second problem, is the king from the nearby kingdom of Eldr desperately needs magical help to save his own people, and he believes Irina is the only hope, and he is willing to do anything she asks of him.

Despite the interesting sounding summary, I was wary of this book. That is because Snow White, despite many good intentions, is often not the most female friendly tale. Especially, if you know the original Grimm fairy tale (the evil queen is not her step-mother and poor snow white is only seven). I picked up this book despite my wariness because I am a sucker for a retelling. And I’m happy to say that it was definitely worth the chance.

One aspect that is concerning to me, has more to do with fairy tales over all then it does with this particular book. Age is often associated  with good and evil. The heroines are always young and their evil (almost always female) adversary is always older. Much of the time said older female is their adversary because of jealousy over their young and beautiful charge. And I do not believe that is was what the author’s intentions were, there do seem to be some of those aspects within this telling. It is slightly more redeeming because that jealousy is more aimed at Lorelai’s mother. But again, because Lorelai’s mother was younger than Irina, the theme of negative female competition is still present.

My one major issue with the actual book was that I wasn’t a fan of the Prologue, it was written in a completely different point of view and tone of voice than the rest of the book. It read like it was trying way too hard at sounding like a fairytale.

However, once I got past that chapter the book flowed much better, and I definitely enjoyed reading it.

Surprisingly, the book didn’t take much too much from the original plot. The basic bones were there: evil queen, magic mirror, poisoned apple; but the rest was completely original and completely appreciated.  And while yes, Lorelai does still have black hair, snow white skin and red lips, there is far less focus on her appearance. It only matters when Irina sees an illustration of her, or Lorelai’s mother says an incantation searching for her.

There is far more focus on the pureness/kindness of Lorelai. She is stronger magically mostly because she isn't forcing her will on others, but rather asking them to help. In fact, “help me” and “please” are often added onto the end of her incantations.