Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Rose and the Beast...random thoughts

The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block. I first have to say that this book caught me totally off-guard. Being new to the world of fairy tales, and even more so to the world of fairy tale retellings, I suppose it's not surprising that I'm just now finding out what a vast variety of story telling this genre encompasses. The nine tales contained within this book are unlike any I had read. They have a very urban flavor to them.

Edgy. Seductive. Dark. And yet lyrical.

These stories are so incredibly beautifully written, and they are so hauntingly tragic. The subject matter isn't pretty...child sexual abuse, heroin addiction, serial murder. And yet the language is utterly enchanting.

Fires like dragon's breath consumed the poppies and lupine, the jacaranda trees that once flowered purple in sudden overnight bursts of exuberance as if startled at their own capacity for gorgeousness.

And the stories hold their own enchantment as well, for through all the harsh realities, Block manages to show us the true magical power of love. I admit it, I was mesmerized. As always seems to be the case with a collection of stories, I enjoyed some more than others. The only one I didn't really like, however, was Tiny. And the other eight stories were more than enough to make up for my disappointment in this one. Charm was definitely among my favorites. As was Beast, which I thought was a brilliant way to reinterpret Beauty and the Beast.

I had originally planned to use this for Annie's fairy tale unit, but have changed my mind. She's certainly no stranger to young adult books, nor to tough issues like the ones contained within these stories. But I'm afraid she doesn't quite have the maturity to deal with these issues in the way they happen to be told within the pages of this book. They are maybe just a bit too raw for her, if that makes any sense.


If you have also reviewed this book, please leave a link in the comments and I will be sure to post it here. Thanks.


Read for:

Once Upon a Time II.

Margaret A. Edwards Reading Challenge.

A-Z Reading Challenge.


Nymeth said...

It's been too long since I've read this book for me remember the stories properly, but reading your beautiful review reminded me of why I loved the book as a whole. I really should revisit it. And yes, Francesca Lia Block writes beautifully!

May I suggest a replacement for Annie? Swan Sister, the companion anthology to Wolf at the Door. I thought it was even better than the first!

Debi said...

Thanks, Nymeth! I'm off to search it out right this minute!

Eva said...

This sounds great! I was a big fan of Francesca Lia Block in high school, but I never read this one. Yay for fairy tales!

Stephanie said...

I read Ruby by Lia Block last year and thought it was fantastic! And yes, I actually think I used the word lyrical to describe it. Just beautiful. It too was marketed as YA, but I think it would be better for older teens than anything else.

This sounds really good!

Dawn said...

I like reading your reviews because they've shared with me books that I've never heard of.

You certainly are a reader of many genres. :)

take care,

Bookfool said...

I'm so far behind that I didn't realize the baby bunny had died. Poor little critter.

My next challenge is to try really hard to earn some blame points.

This sounds like a fascinating book, btw. I'm not sure it's one I want to read, if only because of the word "tragic", but I'm tempted.

Melody said...

Sounds good and intriguing! I've never read anything by this author before but I just love these books on retelling fairy tales. I'll have to add this to my wishlist. Thanks, Debi!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Well Debi, I didn't even know that this genre even existed until I started blogging. I have a lot of catching up to do. This one sounds like one I'm going to check out for sure!

Carl V. said...

You had me at "hauntingly tragic"! ;)

And of course the cover is marvelous. I'll be keeping an eye out for this one.

Lis Garrett said...

Sounds like my kind of book. ;-)

Rhinoa said...

Sounds like just the kind of book I love but hadn't heard of before so thanks for the great review.

Kim L said...

This sounds really interesting! I love fairy tale retellings, especially when the setting is new and different.

Medbie said...

Oh man, I love fairy tales and retellings. This one sounds quite fascinating; I'm interested to read it myself, now, after your review and am headed off to my local library's online catalog to see if they have it. Interesting. . .

By the way, I tagged you for an author meme.

Trish said...

Sounds beaituful and intriguing. I think I might have seen this somewhere else before, but I'm drawing a blank. I've had a lot of fun so far with the OUT2 challenge--looks like this was a great choice for it.