Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rumpelstilstkin (Faerie Tale Collection)

Rumpelstiltskin. Jenni James. 2013. Stonehouse Ink. [Source: Bought]

I have mixed feelings on this one. I can see strengths. I can see weaknesses.

Strengths:
  • Both the hero, Rumpelstiltskin, and heroine, Aubrynn, are well introduced. The chapters devoted to introducing these two to the reader were quite good. These two made a good impression on me from the beginning. Because of how well this one begins, my expectations for the whole story were raised considerably.
  • For readers of romance, yes, LIGHT romance, there are dozens of kissing descriptions. If you like that sort of thing, if you are looking for relatively clean romance that doesn't go too far, too fast, then this one may satisfy.
  • In a way, it has a Beauty and the Beast feel to it. But not quite. Aubrynn is initially startled, perhaps, by his appearance. But she is never reluctant or hesitant or fearful. She's very accepting and grateful from about two minutes into their relationship. 
Early Impressions:
ON THE DAY OF the commemoration of Prince Frederico’s death, Aubrynn Sloat hustled and bustled around the small cottage to prepare for the trip up to the castle grounds. It was imperative that every villager attend or the king’s men would be sure to toss them in the dungeons. It was used as a day of reckoning—of final tax collecting and an accounting of all the villagers still under the king’s reign. 
Clearly she had no magical abilities whatsoever. “Lie to him,” Rumple whispered quietly to himself. “Lie. Tell the most convincing falsehood you can.” The king clenched the girl’s jaw. “Tell me now. Can you turn straw into gold?” Rumple sucked in air and tightened his hold upon the nearest branch. She closed her eyes and nodded. Heaving a sigh of relief, Rumple watched as his brother began to lightly stroke her jaw and neck. “Good. Because if you can, I will marry you.” Her eyes closed tightly, obviously repulsed by his forward behavior as his hand moved to her shoulder and clasped it. “But if you are lying and cannot do what your father says you can, he will die.” The girl’s eyes flew to the king, and for a moment she looked just like a frightened rabbit facing a hunter before she nodded again. “You are very beautiful, you know.” Marcus ran his hand up her neck and jaw again. “So very beautiful. I believe you would make a striking queen.”

Weaknesses:
  • So much time was spent on detailing the kisses between the hero and heroine there is hardly any time at all spent towards developing other characters (including villains). Not only did the other characters suffer a bit in development, the story itself suffers here and there. Not all the time. Not so much that it is definitely "bad". But just enough that you think it is just so-so, nothing special. 
  • You definitely have to suspend your disbelief when it comes to the magic stones. I had an easier time believing that sucking on a magic stone would make Rumpelstiltskin able to spin straw into gold than I did that a magic stone could magically make two characters slide down endless flights of stairs in no time, and magically whisk these two characters from one room on another in the castle. Some rules or some logic would have been nice. As I said, sometimes the "magic" worked for me, other times not at all. (And did anyone else think it slightly awkward that so many pages of dialogue were spent on Aubrynn needing to use the bathroom?)
  • Some of the word choices--the phrases--seemed slightly off. I don't expect to see phrases like "once the coast was clear" and "Great Scott" and "fully happy tummy" and "having to buckle down" in a fairy tale. Also, some of the dialogue was poor. I don't know if it was because the dialogue was weighed down with too many descriptive words OR if poorly developed characters are just awkward communicating with each other. For the most part, Rumpelstiltskin and Aubrynn's dialogue was fine.
The villain king, for example:
 “Happy?” He barked out a laugh. “My dear maiden, you have made me much more than happy! I am exuberant! I am ecstatic! I am so well pleased with you, I mean to move you out of this room this very instant and do something simply divine with you! Something—something to reward you for your tremendous talents.” 
And:
“My window is broken. See that it is fixed immediately. I do not appreciate the chill wind that has been streaming through it.”

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous 7:09 PM  

Ah well, this sounds like a good premise with...drawbacks. Interesting observations on the magical system (or lack of one!) Sometimes books go overboard with rules for the magic, but I definitely like *some* guiding principles to explain what magic can and can't do!

Lynn 3:34 PM  

Good review. For me personally, all the kissing and descriptions of such would probably put me off. I don't mind some romance but this sounds like it would be too much for my liking.
Also, like you said, I do like a little explanation with the magic, etc.
Lynn :D

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