Bleu Reviews: Mirror, Mirror

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Rating: 3 out of 5

Gregory Maguire is still one of my favorite authors but Mirror, Mirror is sadly one of my least favorite books by this author. It’s tragic because I really wanted to love this book as much as I love much of his other works. Mirror, Mirror wasn’t a poorly written book but it definitely didn’t inspire me to read on.

As far as his body of work goes, the same tools and tricks he uses to craft and ensnare us with his other stories are utilized here. Maguire infuses reality and history into a fairytale as old as time itself, while finding a way to draw forth a deeper moral to the screenshot_20190124-220719_chrome4007441423460780054.jpgoverall concept, making us look closer at our childhood bedtime stories.

This time however, I found the story weighed down with too much historical context. This time around I felt sequestered on an island. It dragged on like the years Vicente spent in prison. I too was trapped, between my desire to finish the book and my inability to completely buy into the history lesson.

Maguire’s retelling of the Grimm’s classic Snow White, takes us to Montefiore. A luxurious farm nestled high above the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany and Umbria. We meet our main character, seven – year – old Bianca de Nevada and her doting father Don Vicente.

Vicente is sent on a religious quest by the unscrupulous Cesare Borgia and his sister, Lucrezia leaving innocent Bianca at the mercy of the two wicked children of the corrupt political family.

96700515d6979b8a8e4dc940e9856c4f6444981157864553769.jpgSnow White’s tale has always been about purity and innocence and this version was no different. Maguire’s Mirror, Mirror added another layer of depth toying with the theme of influence and how influence can effect and alter another’s existence.
We saw how the influence of Pope Alexander VI shaped his children and led them ultimately to their demises.

How Vicente’s influence kept Bianca on Montefiore, how Primavera and Fra Ludovico were able to protect the young girl with whatever little influence they had. How Bianca’s mere presence was enough to change the dwarves.

We watched the transformations of each main character in the book as the story crept on at it’s snails pace. The intention seemed to be to give context. Snow White’s was a slow systematic manipulation at the hands of Lucrezia. A years long evolution in what seemed like a chrysalis stage ending the final if not abrupt emergence as a fully physical formed young woman, gullible but seemingly of age.

Vicente’s evolution was more a literal withering of his body and at times his mind. He remained determined to her back to his daughter despite the challenges he’d faced.

Lucrezia Borgia’s evolution was more a literal transformation, when we are introduced to her she is at the height of her power both physically and politically but gradually falls away. In time Lucrezia’s own vanity strips her of everything and her relentlessness drives her to her death.

Maguire’s interpretation of Snow White showed a young girl who was always isolated. Shyer than most, she possessed a curiosity that was often outweighed by her meekness. I rooted for our heroin to some day be rejoined with her father but even more than that I fc624855b3c17871e57bfcfe49791c892177338806584808463.jpgrooted for our heroin to save herself.

This Snow White didn’t seem like the main character at all. The action happened around her or to her but never as a direct result of her. In fact the entire catalyst of her story was in reaction Cesare Borgia and not the young girl directly.

This may be why the book dragged on for ages. It took me about four months to finish reading it in its entirety, partly because I knew how the story would end. I wasn’t waiting for some great plot twist or any alterations to the basic story line. There was instead a more pensive waiting to see how the author would unfold the common tropes of Snow White.

His delivery though overwhelmed with backstory and scenery did not disappoint. We witnessed Maguire masterfully craft the magic mirror, then shatter it’s magic with science before shrouding it with myth again. Maguire unpeeled the layers of the queen’s depravity and her spell-craft and even gave meaning to the high position the apple screenshot_20190124-220930_google2242974854855260815.jpgplayed in the story. The apple which has always been a symbol of purity and wisdom. A religious scion to relate to, a means of temptation especially when paired with the feminine mystique.

Maguire’s apple served as not only a means to begin the story but a common thread tying all the tales loose ends together. The apple which once tempted Eve in her garden drove Lucrezia to insanity and murder. A nod at how even the semblance of influence is enough to alter one’s behavior.

Overall I did enjoy the book. I’m rating it 3/5 because I wouldn’t force myself to endure it a second time but definitely would recommend reading it if you’re a fan of Maguire’s books. If you enjoy a good fairy tale or like adult adaptation’s of children’s stories than this book is great to add to the list.

For me I get to scratch it off my Gregory Maguire bucket – list and move on to my new read.

 

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What Is Your Favorite Snow White Re-Telling?

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

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Now Reading: Song of Blood and Stone

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Book Title: Song of Blood & Stone

Author: L. Penelope

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

 

Reread or TBR?

I have heard so much about this book, starting in 2017. I recently began seeing book reviews for this book and it was heavily reccomended on my GoodReads suggestions. I had to buy it, though I hadn’t realized I’d be buying an advanced Reader’s Copy. The book according to my book cover, will be going on sale May 1, 2018.  This book made it to the top of my TBR list. I just started reading it last night.

Goodreads Description

 

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation.

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

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First Thoughts On The Book

The very first thing I thought when I saw the book was how beautiful the cover was. Aside from the obvious use of blue, which I love, the character on the cover is a black woman. Looking beyond that it also looks like the universe is inside of her, which may hint to the story inside. The story was described as a Romeo & Juliet inspired tale with the promise of an Epic battle to rival the Lord of the Rings franchise; I’m most interesting to seeing that play out.

Now On Page…

I’m still on page one. This book came in the mail yesterday and is a part of my April/Springtime Book Haul. I previously started Moon Called by Patricia Briggs. Saw the release date for this book and decided that I wanted to have it read before the May 1 release date. I will be officially starting the book, today and hopefully, I’ll be finished by Sunday night.

 

Are you eager to read Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope?

Have you Already read it?  Leave a comment below!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What We're Reading: A Madness So Discreet

A Madness So Discreet

An exploration of madness in its many forms.

I’m not sure if this review will have spoilers so keep an eye out for those just in case. I borrowed this book from my friend Bree over @ DoYouEvenGeek months ago in an attempt to bring me from a reading slump. The cover was gorgeous featuring a young woman being pulled through wooden floorboards by hands rooted into the soil. A cover that vivid and descriptive offered a thrilling story and I secretly hoped it featured zombies.

The title, A Madness So Discreet, implies we’ll be exploring the main characters mental health. Confirmed as soon as we open the book and discover her inside of an insane asylum, however, the book also offers insight into the mental health of all of the characters including those otherwise deemed sane. Madness, explores society’s view on women and mental during the Victorian era in the US. A time when women had no rights and were property of the men who chose to claim them. The mistreatment of these women is also a recurring theme throughout the story line.

I absolutely loved the characters as well as the dialogue written for them. I laughed outwardly while reading on more than one occasion. Each character had multiple layers to them, no one person was simply sane or insane. Each had a history, a memory and a reason for being included which not only added depth and emotion to the story but also provided a cohesiveness to the book.

The character of Grace is written as a sort of anti-hero. Though she came to be in this predicament through no fault of her own it is her decisions that will change her fate, something I think Mindy McGinnis conveys perfectly. Grace’s spirit and reluctance to remain a victim make you cheer for her even during times when she seems to have succumb to the darkness. We read on past each new pitfall eagerly hoping she makes it into the light.

There seems to be an underlying power struggle with each character vying for control in one respect or another. Starting with Grace who was powerless to prevent years of abuse at the hands of her sadistic father, Thornhollow, eager to break through into a new realm of science where the mind is the new frontier down to Nell who merely wanted to choose her own fate instead of waiting for sickness to claim her. There is a more overarching need for secrecy or “Discretion” throughout the book also, without it freedom seems to be harder to grasp. Grace’s entire reason for being in the asylum in the first place is to keep her father’s indiscretions a secret, the revelation of her alleged botched procedure must be kept or it would cost Dr. Heedson his livelihood. And if Grace revealed to every one her true identity or the fact that she could speak her father would be able to find her and take her away. The characters in the asylum have the added motivation of seeking normalcy in a world viewed as abnormal something they accomplish while forging bonds within the asylum walls.

The story takes place in the 1800’s, the US of the Victorian era still heavily indoctrinated with European customs and social graces placed manners and etiquette in highest regard. Language was mostly English though, cockney is used for immigrants and others who couldn’t read as a symbol of their social class. During this time, it was considered improper for women seen as dainty and easily breakable to be in the face of murderers, brothels or bars. Women who were loud and exuberant were considered to have no class. Men were advised to watch how they spoke in front of women for fear of upsetting her delicate sensibilities. It’s also important to note that Grace spends most of her time feigning mute and so the absence of speech forces her to express herself in other ways.

A Madness So Discreet, is a great evaluation of the human condition. Each of the individuals in the story possess a trait if not several that would mark them as insane. Their actions in spite of their so called state of mind is what we, the audience determine throughout the book. Is Grace insane because she refuses to speak to people who would ignore her pleas for help either way? Or sane for knowing not to waste her strength and efforts on futile cries? Is Dr. Thornhollow sane because he can critically see into a person’s nature by analyzing a crime scene or is his lack of emotional connection and mechanized perspective signs of a true deviant? McGinnis leaves that decision up to us.

The symbolism in Grace’s scars is one of freedom. She is frequently described as being fairly attractive except for the fact that she now has scars on matching sides of her face. To others unknowing of her history those scars seem the greatest tragedy of her condition, however, to Grace those scars represent freedom and hope offering comfort and protection from scrutiny, a rescue from the shackles of abuse from her father. Grace’s scars became her most concealed weapon, easily hidden behind hair, when in full display they made her invisible to those who would usually ignore a crazy person.

My final thoughts are on the concept of the mind. This book tested the limits of what we would call acceptable and argued a sentiment that maybe we’re all a tad insane from time to time. Set during a dark time for mental health and the golden era of serial killers. Madness explores the psychology of men and offers a clear view at life in two separate mental institutions. The concept of mental health is not a black or white canvas meant to be easily ascertained by one’s social status and upbringing. Luckily for us all, we live in a time where this is no longer the case.

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What Series have you read with Eight books or more in it? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

What We’re Reading: A Madness So Discreet

A Madness So Discreet

An exploration of madness in its many forms.

I’m not sure if this review will have spoilers so keep an eye out for those just in case. I borrowed this book from my friend Bree over @ DoYouEvenGeek months ago in an attempt to bring me from a reading slump. The cover was gorgeous featuring a young woman being pulled through wooden floorboards by hands rooted into the soil. A cover that vivid and descriptive offered a thrilling story and I secretly hoped it featured zombies.

The title, A Madness So Discreet, implies we’ll be exploring the main characters mental health. Confirmed as soon as we open the book and discover her inside of an insane asylum, however, the book also offers insight into the mental health of all of the characters including those otherwise deemed sane. Madness, explores society’s view on women and mental during the Victorian era in the US. A time when women had no rights and were property of the men who chose to claim them. The mistreatment of these women is also a recurring theme throughout the story line.

I absolutely loved the characters as well as the dialogue written for them. I laughed outwardly while reading on more than one occasion. Each character had multiple layers to them, no one person was simply sane or insane. Each had a history, a memory and a reason for being included which not only added depth and emotion to the story but also provided a cohesiveness to the book.

The character of Grace is written as a sort of anti-hero. Though she came to be in this predicament through no fault of her own it is her decisions that will change her fate, something I think Mindy McGinnis conveys perfectly. Grace’s spirit and reluctance to remain a victim make you cheer for her even during times when she seems to have succumb to the darkness. We read on past each new pitfall eagerly hoping she makes it into the light.

There seems to be an underlying power struggle with each character vying for control in one respect or another. Starting with Grace who was powerless to prevent years of abuse at the hands of her sadistic father, Thornhollow, eager to break through into a new realm of science where the mind is the new frontier down to Nell who merely wanted to choose her own fate instead of waiting for sickness to claim her. There is a more overarching need for secrecy or “Discretion” throughout the book also, without it freedom seems to be harder to grasp. Grace’s entire reason for being in the asylum in the first place is to keep her father’s indiscretions a secret, the revelation of her alleged botched procedure must be kept or it would cost Dr. Heedson his livelihood. And if Grace revealed to every one her true identity or the fact that she could speak her father would be able to find her and take her away. The characters in the asylum have the added motivation of seeking normalcy in a world viewed as abnormal something they accomplish while forging bonds within the asylum walls.

The story takes place in the 1800’s, the US of the Victorian era still heavily indoctrinated with European customs and social graces placed manners and etiquette in highest regard. Language was mostly English though, cockney is used for immigrants and others who couldn’t read as a symbol of their social class. During this time, it was considered improper for women seen as dainty and easily breakable to be in the face of murderers, brothels or bars. Women who were loud and exuberant were considered to have no class. Men were advised to watch how they spoke in front of women for fear of upsetting her delicate sensibilities. It’s also important to note that Grace spends most of her time feigning mute and so the absence of speech forces her to express herself in other ways.

A Madness So Discreet, is a great evaluation of the human condition. Each of the individuals in the story possess a trait if not several that would mark them as insane. Their actions in spite of their so called state of mind is what we, the audience determine throughout the book. Is Grace insane because she refuses to speak to people who would ignore her pleas for help either way? Or sane for knowing not to waste her strength and efforts on futile cries? Is Dr. Thornhollow sane because he can critically see into a person’s nature by analyzing a crime scene or is his lack of emotional connection and mechanized perspective signs of a true deviant? McGinnis leaves that decision up to us.

The symbolism in Grace’s scars is one of freedom. She is frequently described as being fairly attractive except for the fact that she now has scars on matching sides of her face. To others unknowing of her history those scars seem the greatest tragedy of her condition, however, to Grace those scars represent freedom and hope offering comfort and protection from scrutiny, a rescue from the shackles of abuse from her father. Grace’s scars became her most concealed weapon, easily hidden behind hair, when in full display they made her invisible to those who would usually ignore a crazy person.

My final thoughts are on the concept of the mind. This book tested the limits of what we would call acceptable and argued a sentiment that maybe we’re all a tad insane from time to time. Set during a dark time for mental health and the golden era of serial killers. Madness explores the psychology of men and offers a clear view at life in two separate mental institutions. The concept of mental health is not a black or white canvas meant to be easily ascertained by one’s social status and upbringing. Luckily for us all, we live in a time where this is no longer the case.

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What Series have you read with Eight books or more in it? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Last Guardian)

AF8

                                   *****Spoilers in this Review****

What an amazing ending to the Artemis Fowl saga!!!

The final book of the Artemis series is the equivalent of winning the gold medal in reading for following through to the end. I absolutely loved the final showdown between Opal and our heroes.

Opal proves how insane she is and how far she’s willing to go by killing the younger version of herself and setting of a series of natural disasters.

For once someone else truly has outsmarted Artemis Fowl.

There is a certain level of either selflessness or selfishness that entails killing one’s self and Opal Koboi is willing to make the choice to finally achieve the power she’s always craved.

Our leading cast is stuck in the surface split between Holly, Butler, Artemis and a troll riding Mulch vs. possessed versions of Juliet, Becket, Myles and other assorted woodland creatures/art pieces/ corpses.

The mental back and forth is heightened each chapter as time ticks closer to Opal unlocking an ancient gate meant to destroy all humanity.

All of our characters have come full circle for better or worse. As Artemis completes his ascension  Artemis, once almost responsible for bringing the world to it’s knees with the existence of faeries will now risk it all to save humanity and fairy kind. Mulch Diggums, formerly a hardened criminal and self affirmed coward proves his reform repeatedly placing himself in harm’s way. Even Foaly turned into an action hero in order to save his wife.

Myles Fowl is one of the funniest supporting characters in the book. As Artemis Fowl’s little brother and genius compared to twin Beckett, Myles’s intellect allows him to fight through the possession and aid in the fight…at least before his nap.

I couldn’t have imagined a better end to an amazing series and it’s interesting enough that I also may want to buy the graphic novels…(yes of the series I just finished reading, but this one will have pictures.)

What Series have you read with? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

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You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

 

What We're Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Last Guardian)

AF8

                                   *****Spoilers in this Review****

What an amazing ending to the Artemis Fowl saga!!!

The final book of the Artemis series is the equivalent of winning the gold medal in reading for following through to the end. I absolutely loved the final showdown between Opal and our heroes.

Opal proves how insane she is and how far she’s willing to go by killing the younger version of herself and setting of a series of natural disasters.

For once someone else truly has outsmarted Artemis Fowl.

There is a certain level of either selflessness or selfishness that entails killing one’s self and Opal Koboi is willing to make the choice to finally achieve the power she’s always craved.

Our leading cast is stuck in the surface split between Holly, Butler, Artemis and a troll riding Mulch vs. possessed versions of Juliet, Becket, Myles and other assorted woodland creatures/art pieces/ corpses.

The mental back and forth is heightened each chapter as time ticks closer to Opal unlocking an ancient gate meant to destroy all humanity.

All of our characters have come full circle for better or worse. As Artemis completes his ascension  Artemis, once almost responsible for bringing the world to it’s knees with the existence of faeries will now risk it all to save humanity and fairy kind. Mulch Diggums, formerly a hardened criminal and self affirmed coward proves his reform repeatedly placing himself in harm’s way. Even Foaly turned into an action hero in order to save his wife.

Myles Fowl is one of the funniest supporting characters in the book. As Artemis Fowl’s little brother and genius compared to twin Beckett, Myles’s intellect allows him to fight through the possession and aid in the fight…at least before his nap.

I couldn’t have imagined a better end to an amazing series and it’s interesting enough that I also may want to buy the graphic novels…(yes of the series I just finished reading, but this one will have pictures.)

What Series have you read with? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

18278814_1365002003583016_5668521729679719793_o

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Atlantis Complex)

AF7

It took me a bit longer to finish this book than it has the others in the series. I even chose to take a break for a few days to get the Blumoonfiction.wordpress.com site back up and running. Having finished the book I have a few take-aways.

Angeline Fowl is an amazing beastmode mom, in the running for my literary adopted mom status. Using cooperation in keeping the fairy people’s existence a secret, as a way to extort normal teenage behavior from your son, is genius and if faeries were real totally worth the effort.

Secondly, Love truly conquers all including black magic runes and psychosis. This theme pops up often throughout the book, I won’t spoil it for you but see if you can get what I meant. The ending to the final conflict was so poetic, I would’ve teared up if I hadn’t been holding my breath for the downfall of Turnball Root, villain of our novel.

Thirdly, this book is a completely different Fowl adventure than what we’ve come to know. Traditionally there’s multiple villains and levels of psychological sparring ending in the flawless execution of a final Fowl plan to defeat the bad guy and save the day.

This time not so much…

Artemis’s mental ability isn’t going to be as helpful as it’d usually be. In fact Artemis spends a large chunk of the book out of commission.

I love character development and a little variation from time to time. For six books we’ve seen Artemis use his wits to outsmart his foes and to help save the day, but now suffering from fits of psychosis while trying to unravel a villainous plot his mind seems to be causing him the most trouble.

The villain in this book is also different. Questing to be reunited with his love, regardless of of how their romance came to be is a completely different motivation. Ultimately it was that same motivation that ended his scheme. This part of the book is the most poetic if not slightly anti-climactic. A part of me wondered what the point of it all was, but only for a moment.

The Atlantis Complex is also the funniest AF book I’ve read, now that Artemis has a sense of humor, jokes between the characters as well as the jokes the author leaves for the reader are on almost every page. It’s one of the more light hearted books, considering the events that place.

The Orion character is truly one of the more humurous inceptions of Artemis Fowl, with his chivalrous demeanor and floral speech. He proved to be more useful than originally expected.

Psychosis beats Rune.

One final book in the Artemis Fowl series before I am done. This has been an amazing journey but I’m sooooo ready to get out of Ireland.

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What Series have you read with Eight books or more in it? Let me Know in the Comments Below!