Saturday, May 05, 2018

Keep It Short #18

I read several fairy tales this week. I read "The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was" and "Rumpelstiltzkin."

The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was

First sentence: A father had two sons, of whom the eldest was clever and bright, and always knew what he was about; but the youngest was stupid, and couldn’t learn or understand anything. So much so that those who saw him exclaimed: “What a burden he’ll be to his father!”

Premise/plot: A young boy thinks that learning what fear is -- what it is to shudder -- will be the means to his making a living. His father thinks he's an absolute idiot. Who is proved right?

My thoughts: I HATED this story. Perhaps hate is too strong a word. But this is one of those stories where I WANTED MY TIME BACK. The sad thing? I knew the story was stupid before I began it. I'd read it before and remembered disliking it. But my stubbornness is rigid: I do not skip stories. If I set out to read a book, I READ a book. Now, I do want to add that I don't hold others to my rules.


First sentence: There was once upon a time a poor miller who had a very beautiful daughter. Now it happened one day that he had an audience with the King, and in order to appear a person of some importance he told him that he had a daughter who could spin straw into gold.

Premise/plot: All magic comes with a price. Can a young woman outwit her former savior?

My thoughts: I LOVE this one. Do I love it because of Once Upon A Time?! I don't know if I love it *only* because of Once Upon A Time. But certainly Robert Carlyle's performance as Rumple and Mr. Gold has influenced me greatly.

It is easy to skim over this one without giving it much thought. Familiarity with it only makes it all that much easier to read deeply and thoughtfully. But this one has some despicable characters.

The father. What right did he have to use his daughter for his own advantage? To boast, to scheme, to lie, to try to gain favor and esteem. Of course, history shows this to be the norm for centuries. Daughters are property of their fathers. They become the property of their husbands.

The king. He's arrogant, greedy, selfish. I could overlook his greed--to a certain extent--IF he didn't threaten her life if she didn't succeed. He may have a kingdom, but is he a prize of a husband? How could she forget his threats?

The 'little man'. Is he despicable? Yes. No. Maybe. Probably. He is more than willing to help her--for a price. There is always, always a price to be paid for his magic. Three times he is her savior. Yet it costs her something each time: a necklace, a ring, a promise. She doesn't regret the necklace or the ring. Not for a minute. After all, what are they to her in the great scheme of things?! But the third--the promise of her firstborn child--that is a heavy, heavy price to expect anyone to pay. What would he have done with a child? Did he want it for himself? Did he want to raise it? Was his statement true that he valued LIVING creatures more than gold and treasure?

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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