Fantastic Folklore-Inspired Stories from Around the World

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Hello all! Since I’ve been speaking a lot about fairy tales and folklore in the last week, I thought it would be fun to just to a little list for this Sunday’s post. I decided (cos I’m a fussy reader that’s picky about retellings) to go with books that I think are great, which aren’t necessarily retellings, but rather are simply awesome stories, inspired by mythic tales. And these they are:

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox– it’s not just that I really enjoyed this book- I also thought Kaguwa’s light touch was perfect when it came to representing the wonderfully complex creature that is the kitsune.

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Forbidden Wish– I don’t think I talk about this book enough on this blog, even though I really enjoyed this unique Aladdin retelling.

bear and the nightingale

Bear and the nightingale– I think it’s fairly obvious how much I love this book. Bound up in Russian folklore, it’s become an instant favourite for me and is perfect reading for this time of the year.

anansi boys

Anansi Boys– this was the first Gaiman I really fell in love with- and for good reason. Not only does it absorb fascinating mythic elements, but Gaiman also puts his own unique humour and twist on the story, elevating it to the levels of genius.

circe

Circe– ah Greek mythology is so close to my heart- so I’m delighted to have read what I believe to be the *definitive* retelling of the Odyssey. It’s simply sublime.

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit– I went back and forth about putting this on this list, because it doesn’t necessarily correlate with any one story. Instead it’s an amalgamation of so many stories and goes far beyond a traditional retelling in that it becomes the backbone for future British mythology- which meant I’d be remiss to leave it off. Besides, it’s one of my all-time favourite books and I’m biased 😉

through the woods

Through the Woods– this graphic novel is not only visually stunning, but an excellent example of unique retellings. It not only incorporated elements from the original Grimm’s tales, it also embodied something of the spirit from Angela Carter’s work. For that alone, it’s a worthy read.

 

What do you think of any of these? And do have any favourite retellings or novels inspired by folklore? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Review – April

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Okay, I usually like to post these on the first Friday of the month and I’ve been consistent with that for about a year now… buuut I knew there was no way I could get online yesterday, so it seemed a bad day to schedule it. Anyway, I’m sorry for still being all over the place with bloghopping, replying to comments and whatnot, I’ve just been juggling a lot lately…

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Well, not literally, I can’t actually juggle 😉 Offline stuff is still eating into my internet time, but I did get to do my first guest post in March and wanted to send a very warm thank you to the lovely Dani @Perspective of a Writer for very kindly hosting me! If you fancy a post on Unusual Classics feel free to check it out- and please check out Dani in general because her blog is *magnificent* and *stunning*!

Anyway today, I’m happy to say I only have good books to review, so this is more of a recommendations post than anything else 😀

anna dressed in blood

Anna Dressed in Blood– I’ve seen this book knocking around for years and happened to find it in the library when I was looking for One Dark Throne. Now, in case you’ve not seen my reviews, I haven’t been too enamoured by that series- HOWEVER I *loved* this. Some of the main issues I’ve had with Blake’s trilogy is an inability to connect with the characters and vague world building- that is not the case here at all! I thought the characters were very relatable and the world she created was so clear. On top of that, this was incredibly GRIPPING. The twists were INSANE as well and there were so many that I couldn’t guess all of them. Plus, any I did guess didn’t detract from the horror. This was so scary for me I *had to* put it down! Admittedly, I scare easily and don’t normally go in for this kind of book- still the fact that I desperately wanted to finish this book says a lot. It was a great story and I get why everyone’s been raving about it for years.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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last magician

The Last Magician– I read this thanks to a *wonderful* review from Trang @Bookidote– highly recommend you check it out! And I’m delighted to say I had a great time reading it! I mean, what’s not to like about magicians and time travel? I was gripped from the awesome opening and I couldn’t stop reading. The characters and relationships were amazing; the world building was detailed and unique. I did guess some of the twists, though not all of them. Overall it was an exciting and different story, aided by sleek and effective writing. I didn’t give it a full five bananas just because it was lacking that je ne sais quoi for me, but (and this is not going to be a popular opinion) I will admit I wasn’t keen on the numerous, casually sexist, throwaway lines like “fragile male ego”- it saddens me that a book would go there.  Nonetheless, that’s more a sign of the times and I still thought this book was brilliant.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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The Forbidden Wish– I was recommended this so many times by Anna @My Bookish Dream and Being a Book Nerd and it being a retelling of Aladdin, I just had to read it… and I’m really glad I did! This is a stunning YA fantasy book, with an evocative voice and dreamy tone. The writing is expertly done and has one of the best uses of second person I’ve ever seen. With this genius touch, it links the past and present. The one issue I had with this was that it could have done with more space for the characters and relationships to develop. It all felt a bit rushed considering the scope of the story. I’d easily have been happy with a longer book- it’s not like the brilliant writing style couldn’t have sustained it. But ultimately, I was really happy with this and I let out an audible aww at the end.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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Anyway, this has been a veritable feast of great books, leaving me one satisfied monkey…

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So have you read any of these? Did you love them or loathe them? And do you plan to read any of them now? Let me know in the comments!