I love the notes of a traditional fairy tale throughout this story. The idea of “don’t go into the woods”. Be careful of the wicked witch. A young girls’ life being turned upside down by the remarriage of her father (after the mother has passed away). But this is where many of the similarities end.
Most stories, fairy tales, really anything that I read features a pretty girl. She is gifted by grace, beauty, kindness, yadda, yadda, yadda. But not so with this reimagined fairy tale story. This is all about the ugly (and somewhat forgotten) ugly sister.
There seems to be a lot of stupid Hans’ in this collection. Or at least a patch towards the later middle that has a lot of stories that feature a dumb young man named Hans. And the recurrent theme seemed to be honesty, truth and fairness. Give to others. The typical ideas of fairy tales that I grew up with. Just with a far more twisted take and journey.
I found it almost impossible to put this damn book down. Which is a little problematic… since I have a whole heap of other productive things to do… the illustrations in this version just helped to make it ten thousand times more difficult to put down.
There’s nothing better than discovering that a loved series has a short story collection that goes along with it. And the fact that I realised this before getting too far into the series meant that I actually got to read most of this series in chronological order. Which, let me tell you, made an already amazing series amazing-er (it’s a word now…)
I’m so glad that everyone got a happy ending. And that, although the ending of Winter tied up the main plot points, there was Something Old, Something New to completely finish it off. After all, the series just had to end with a wedding, and this story did that perfectly.
You know when you finish a really amazing series, and you just… ?? After finishing Winter, I strolled around, looked at all my books and wondered how anything else could live up to that standard. Yes, I had a short story left to finish in Stars Above, and that helped for a little while, but the main storyline, that big, epic battle that had been building up? It was done, finished, and I honestly wasn’t sure I would ever be able to read anything so amazing again (it’s okay, I got over this, but seriously… how many books punch you in the gut like that?)
Winter is a creepy, but cool character that we first meet towards the end of Cress. And more of her horrible history is then introduced in Fairest. Yet, it is when you read The Princess and the Guard that she shines through beautifully. And you start to understand that she is actually crazy – although for a very good reason.
This book was supposed to give an alternative point of view to Levana’s choices and life. And it did, it made me feel a little sorry for her and the history that she has been forced to face up to throughout the beginning of her life. Although it is all kind of horrible, and I felt a lot of sympathy for her throughout the tale, she’s still kind of an awful person.
Carswell’s activities and past are mentioned throughout Cress quite a bit. And it’s a little hard to figure the guy out. But, there is one moment that stands out specifically for Cress, and there are a number of reasons that he gives for his actions. And that moment with Kate Fallow is covered in Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky.