Posts tagged ‘dark fantasy’

CINDERELLA GONE WILD

Zombie Books for kids: Princess of the Dead (from Cinderella)

Written by Dina T. Seth

 

Do you like classic fairy tales? Maybe you can’t turn down a good horror story? Not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name of Cinderella. This book is a macabre twist on the fairy tale.

The first scene opens with Cinderella working feverishly tending the home at the edge of the forest. Familiar characters include the wicked stepmother, two ugly stepsisters, fairy godmother and the prince. But in this version the fairy godmother is not the kind-hearted hero, the prince no heroine, and the major players become zombies who are victims of a disease that Cinderella actually initiates. Will Cinderella and the Prince live happily ever after?

This book is cleverly written, though the amount of violence, gore and detail are too probably way too much for elementary school readers. Recommended for middle-school, young adult and adult readers who enjoy fantasy and horror stories.

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WHERE IS THAT REMOTE?

Conspirators of the Lost Sock and the Loose Change Collection Agency

Written by Dan O’Brien

Illustrated by Steve Ferchaud

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Labeled as a Fantasy Noir by the author this short tale of less than fifty pages contains interesting characters and an engaging plot. Robert Pendleton is an elderly man who apparently lives alone. Upon waking up from his customary long sleep, he is annoyed to discover that he cannot find his remote control. He bends over, smashing a lamp in the process. Robert gets down on his knees and discovers a leprechaun standing at the back of his couch. Colin McMasters is in charge of the Loose Change Collection Agency. He has come to enlist Robert’s help to defeat a malevolent creature known as The Scourge. He is the leader of a sock army of soldiers harassing the community of leprechauns.

Robert cannot believe he is taking this tale seriously, but he agrees to enter the fantasy world through a broken washing machine. He is amazed to discover that Colin is telling the truth. Will Robert succeed in his mission to defeat the invaders and then find his way back home to his world.

Targeted for ages six through eighteen, the length of this book suggests it could be appropriate for younger readers. The charming black and white pencil illustrations aptly portray the characters, and the dialogue is fun to read. On the other hand, there are some challenging words like acerbic, undulating and gargantuan that might discourage readers under age ten. Definitely not a bedtime story, but certainly a creative and well-written tale that provides an interesting discussion topic.

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A RELUCTANT HEROINE

The Amber Ring (A Novella)

Written by A.L. Walton

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This book of approximately one hundred pages might be described as a dark fantasy. There are many traditional fantasy characters like gryphons, trolls, fairies, unicorns and witches. A few others like the Talking Bear Mayor and the satyr sheriff are a bit of a stretch. Then there is a reluctant heroine and her twin sister who is a magical weaver and heroine.

Allow me to summarize the plot briefly. Maya is a rather morose and cynical twelve year old whose twin sister Sofia has recently drowned. Sofia had magical powers along with a magical ring which now belongs to her sister. Two years prior to her death, Sofia had managed to rid the Fairwoods of the trolls under the power of the Cedar Witch. Their lands became peaceful. One day Camden, her sister’s pet gryphon, reappears at the site where Sofia died. He attempts to convince Maya that the Fairwoods are again in danger, and that she is needed to restore peace. Maya has no interest in being a weaver or leaving her comfortable life in Oregon. But she feels guilty and eventually agrees to spend Labor Day weekend with Camden on a quest to find the Morning Stone and restore the balance of power.

Maya loses her backpack to Duskrats, and then travels on to the home of the Maple Witch who feeds them and attempts to show Maya how to weave magic just as Sofia had done in the past. Maya is unsuccessful and frustrated. She and the gryphon will meet up with a unicorn, goblins, a geographer some cobblers, and trolls in their attempts to find the Morning Stone. When Maya finally reaches her destination, she is shocked to find that her heroine sister’s death was not an accident. Maya must now make a decision whether or not to avenge it. Will Maya ever be able to put the tragedy behind her or will she forever be molded by it?

I like the multiculturalism introduced by using Spanish phrases, particularly Maya’s grandmother’s description of her as Hueca (hollow) . That is a good way to explain the way Maya feels about herself at the beginning of the story. As mentioned previously, there are some fantasy elements included that are a stretch with the plot, but all in all, I feel that the short novel will appeal to children ten and older as well as adults who like a quick fantasy read.

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