Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review and Giveaways TaleSpins (TaleSpins #1-3) by Michael Mullin


The stories we pass down from parent to child
Were once filled with darkness, but somehow turned mild.
We tweak and revise, and when all else fails
We choose to omit certain crucial details.
Until they're forgotten, and nobody knows
How a story originally, truthfully goes.

I must start this review with: "I loved it"!

I liked the "retellings" so much that I not only read them, but I read them out loud; some parts of them for several times.

I was very amused by the delightful contrast between the Nursery Rhymes type lyrics and the delivered messages, directly or subliminally, but also by artifices that spice them. Artifices in the sense of various forms of irony (even self irony), that reach sometimes sarcasm. But they cannot upset, because they are told in an extraordinary and gentle manner and author’s inspiration and delicacy leaves no room for lour.

It’s become quite a trend to take a known story and tell it a different way
That’s all well and good, for we can assume every author has something to say.

Author’s originality comes out also through the difference between the three stories although linked by the dark style in which they are told. Their presentation way is a perfect upward gradation of the strangeness and seriousness that characterizes them and of the messages that they convey. The fact that each of them brings something new made me curious and did not allowed me to put the book down.

The first story perfectly defines the antihero. Funny and sad at the same time, it shows us that although those that are around determine us how to behave, in the end we are what we choose to be. Creepy has become one of my favorite antiheroes. I loved the "sincerity" in which Mullin portraits him and the way he did it, with good measure and taste.
Her bare feet were covered with cuts and scrapes,
But beyond that were far more intriguing shapes.
A layer of wrinkled-up cotton and lace
Covered gentle curves in the negative space.
His mind raced with thoughts not entirely clean 
Seeing that which was clearly not meant to be seen. 
He thought that perhaps he should look well away 
Then answered, “Why should I? They made me this way!”
The second tale is the "ordinary" story of the discovery of the first and perhaps the true love. The originality comes from how it is told, from the messages you do not even realize that you've received and from the way in which the modern and the fairy worlds meet together in a consonant dash. The vivid memory of fairy tale world from the first work is shaken by words or references to technical and contemporary "habits".

It was one of those oddball, storybook kingdoms that doesn’t have a name. 
In fact the only thing she knew was its location “far away”.

This story also has its share of humor and irony.
“Can’t we splash her with water? If she melts, that would be ideal.”
Jink took a small bottle from a fold in his sock, and said:
“Focus. And please . . . get real.”
The next night Penny hung out by herself, which was pretty much routine. (A decaf tea and a YA novel about a vampire who was half machine.)
Regarding the third story ... it’s entirely another story.

The style is different, more abstract. The fantastic is not one (quite so) accessible, and the game of changing sets and characters emphasizes the strangeness, but also the charm of the story. Is an odd and inspired retelling, in which the mystery is kept well hidden. The author plays fair enough and gives us sufficient clues, but these are not just offer to us, they must to be discovered. Personally I had the impression of a Dali painting or of those works that are playing with optical illusion.
I didn’t like the idea, or the darkness ahead, but I’d get no welcome mat. So I started down a path with fear and caution, clearly the mouse to his cat.
If I have not convinced you to read it, I tell you directly: read it. The risk I take, for you to not like it, is minimal.

Just keep in mind when you hear any story on this or another day, 
There may be a better than average chance that it didn’t really happen that way.

Această recenzie trebuie să înceapă cu „mi-a plăcut foarte mult”!

Mi-au plăcut „repovestirile” atât de mult, încât nu doar că le-am citit, ci le-am citit cu voce tare; unele porțiuni chiar de mai multe ori.

M-a amuzat teribil contrastul dintre versurile gen nursery rhymes şi mesajele transmise, direct sau subliminal, dar şi prin micile artificii ce le condimentează. Artificii în sensul unor forme variate de ironii atingând chiar şi sarcasmul. Dar acestea nu pot supăra pentru că sunt spuse într-un mod extraordinar, iar delicatețea şi inspirația poetului nu lasă loc de încruntare.

Originalitatea autorului se vede şi prin diferența clară dintre cele trei poveşti deşi unite prin stilul dark în care sunt spuse. Modul de prezentare a acestora reprezintă o gradație perfectă, crescătoare, a straniului şi seriozității ce le caracterizează şi a mesajelor pe care le transmit. Faptul că fiecare aduce ceva nou m-a făcut curioasă şi nu mi-a permis să las cartea din mână.

Prima poveste portretizează perfect antieroul. Amuzantă şi tristă în acelaşi timp, ne arată că deşi cei din jur ne determină felul de a ne comporta, în final suntem ceea ce alegem să fim. Creepy a devenit unul dintre antieroii mei preferați. Mi-a plăcut „sinceritatea” cu care Mullin l-a creionat şi modul cum a făcut-o, cu bună măsură şi gust.

Cea de a doua lucrare, este povestea „obişnuită” a descoperirii primei şi probabil adevăratei iubiri. Originalitatea vine din modul în care este spusă, prin mesajele pe care nici nu realizezi că le-ai înregistrat şi prin modul în care lumea modernă şi cea de poveste se întâlnesc într-un amestec armonios. Amintirea vie a lumii fantastice din prima lucrare este scuturată de cuvinte sau trimiteri la tehnica şi „obiceiurile” contemporane.

Nici din această povestire nu lipseşte umorul şi ironia.

În ceea ce priveşte a treia poveste... e cu totul altă poveste.
Stilul este unul diferit, mai abstract. Fantasticul nu mai este unul (chiar atât de) accesibil, iar jocul dintre planuri şi schimbul dintre personaje accentuează ciudățenia, dar şi farmecul poveştii. O stranie şi inspirată repovestire, în care misterul este ținut bine ascuns. Autorul joacă corect şi ne dă suficiente indicii, însă nu ni le serveşte pur şi simplu, trebuind să fie descoperite ele însele. Personal am avut impresia unui tablou de Dali sau acelor lucrări ce se joacă cu iluzia optică.

Dacă nu v-am convins să o citiți, vă spun direct: citiți-o. Riscul pe care mi-l asum, acela de a nu vă place, este minim.

Description: Tale Spins A trilogy of alternative fairytales and retellings. Discover the real Snow White story through the eyes of Creepy, the unknown 8th dwarf! Meet a teen princess who hires "The Frog Prince" witch to get revenge on a Mean Girl at school! And learn how the giant, boy thief and magic beans tale truly went down!

About the author:
Michael Mullin is a native New Englander living in Pasadena. He is the author of TaleSpins, a trilogy of alternative fairy tales and retellings for YA readers. TaleSpins stories (in the 1-book collection) are "8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf"; "The Plight and Plot of Princess Penny"; and "Jack'd". 

Michael is also the co-author of the successful "Larry Gets Lost" children's book series. His screenplay "Zooing Time" was recognized by the WGA's Written By magazine. Before all this writing, he taught preschool and college, two positions he found disconcertingly similar.

Tour Giveaways Giveaway #1 - Open to US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway #2 $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/21/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Steph said...

I loved the 8th Dwarf story it was sad but a very interesting take on the classic fairy tale.

ilookfamous said...

I love twisted fairytales!