Monday, July 24, 2006
Look where those so-called orphans can go!
You know, I dig retold fairy tales. Ella Enchanted is one of my all-time Favorites (just, please, lets just pretend the movie never happened). I happened upon Diane Stanley's Bella at Midnight while it was sitting on the new book shelve. I read the flap and decided that it would be worth it despite the rather bad cover (I like the design but, there's something that bothers me about that ring; it's more than just the fact that the ring plays a VERY small role in the plot).
Bella is sent off at birth by a father who can't cope with his wife's death to live with peasants. There she grows up to be a intelligent, caring resourceful young lady without much use or knowledge for the court life that her lineage warrants. What makes this different from all the other retellings of Cinderella is the setting and the relationship of Bella with the Prince (Julian here, which I always thought a cool name for a boy. Unfortunately, any male child I might have is genetically doomed not to be cool enough to not get beaten up everyday with that moniker). Her country has been at war with the neighbor for ages and through a believable series of events she finds herself in a position to attempt to travel on her own quest to save the man she loves.
There is one issue I have with this book (note that I greatly enjoyed it - a very satisfying read). The story is told in several voices, including the POVs of her step-creatures. Stanley offers the beginning of depth for the step-creatures, however, she doesn't quite follow through with their development to the end and what sympathy you were inclined to feel for them is ultimately lost. Which is a pity. Also, like Ever After (I so love that movie), you've got a good step-sis who eventually overcomes her sister's shadow, and a heroine that has to save the prince. However, I was never hung up on these things while actually reading the story. So that says something. For Girls who've already read all the other princess novels.