Cartoons

She-ra and the Princesses of Power Season 5 Review [Spoiler Free]

She-ra is over guys.
Such a great final season, such a wonderful ride.  While I wasn’t on board entirely for the first 2 seasons, I was hooked by season 3 and the finale of this show was fantastic.  I’ll warn you now: this is pretty much going to be me gushing about how much I liked season 5.  There were a few nitpicks I’d have here and there, but nothing can sour my overall love and emotions I have for this show.  So with that out of the way, let’s get into it!

 

The first thing I really enjoyed and noticed, was how well plotted the season was from the start.  We were bouncing between 2 plots throughout the entire season, and neither felt neglected or out of place.  Every character that has been established as important in the show had their time to shine, and bouncing between both plots paved the way for a very cohesive final climax that made perfect sense and hit so many emotional beats, I can’t even get started on breaking them all down.  I was a bit nervous about what they were going to do with Catra, but  they handled her story arc perfectly and while I wasn’t on board for what most of the fandom wanted  with her character, it turned out well and I was so happy to see it happen.
There’s so much tension in this season from the get-go.  The atmosphere, and animation and character beats just were so well done in that regard.  There’s a certain thing that happens mid-season, and it truly amped up the horror factor of the show.  Truly not knowing who to trust, trying to fight against all odds, and that tension just hanging over the main cast of the show was an amazing ride and kept me watching, without fail.  That isn’t to say there isn’t humor in this season:  There’s tons of it, and all of the jokes land perfectly.  But there’s never a sense of too many jokes taking away from the severity of the situation they are in, but the light of their bonds and friendships just shine through so prevalently that it was so natural to see them joking around from time to time.

 

This show has always been about the characters, and this season was no exception.  In fact, I think it does the best job of developing the characters, and fully fleshing out their story arcs that have been running throughout the series.  You’d think with such a huge ensemble cast, someone would fall through the cracks.  But no, every Princess and side character who has been in the show, has a clear identity, and isn’t relegated to one-dimensional side characters.  My favorite has always been Mermista, with Perfuma as a close second and both of them shined so much in this season that I ate it up.

 

And that climax!  With the themes of love, bonds, and different relationships in the series, the ending was so perfect.  I feel like Dreamworks learned from the mistakes of Voltron, and decided to not try anything flashy, stick to a generic enough ending but at the end of the day, it was always going to be the natural conclusion of the show.  That however, doesn’t take away from the building tension of this series, as you feel every sacrifice and decision the characters have to make as if you’re right there with them.  It’s powerful, it’s poignant, and made the ending so dang beautiful.  I was cheering at certain points, I was crying at certain points, everything was just so dang perfect.  Bravo to the show runners, bravo!

 

One thing I will say, is the audio description was a bit wonky with this season.  There were some times where it wouldn’t describe something rather important, and I was left a bit confused until another scene.  And for the weirdest reason, in a few scenes when Frosta was in them, the describer said it was Glimmer.  Of course, you’re using your common sense, and know Glimmer isn’t in the scene so it meant Frosta, but just going over the script again and making sure minor mistakes weren’t in there would have been nice.  Overall though, the experience with the description was good – I especially loved how it captured all of the animation beats of Catras cat-isms, that was a really fun touch to the show   and all of the Catra as cat jokes cracked me up.

 

Ugh, I can’t express how much I enjoyed this final season.  The pacing was great, the character beats given to us throughout the series were ended well, and the open ended nature of the ending was so nice to see.  We can imagine all sorts of adventures for our characters now that they’ve secured their future, and that’s so great to see in animation.  I hope we get an epilogue series, I really do.  But if this is all we’re going to get out of the She-ra series, I’m completely happy we got it.  I’d totally rewatch this entire series again, just to see the plot beats play out in all of their glory.

 

Wonderful job with the show as a whole.  I wasn’t quite on board with seasons 1 and 2, but after all of the ground work for the lore and story were laid, it turned out to be a fantastic series.  I highly recommend watching this if you enjoy great characters, beautiful relationships of the romantic and platonic sort, and a well-crafted world and lore based fantasy world.  You won’t regret it!

Books

Bite-Sized Book Reviews #2

Time for another round of Bite-Sized book reviews, this time for a few series I’ve read recently.  I have full reviews for the individual books on my Goodreads page, so if you’d like to see more detail for them, head on over there.  This is basically my excuse to gush about these series’, because I really enjoyed all of them and waiting for the installments in them reminds me why I don’t like to read books unless the series is finished, because waiting for all of these is going to drive me nuts!

 

The Forgotten Kingdoms Series by Lichelle Slater

 

This is a fairy tale retelling series that at first, feels rather bland.  I didn’t find The Dragon Princess to be particularly attention grabbing, but I finished it because I’m all about The Little Mermaid (my favorite fairy tale) and The Siren Princess was next in the series.  It was worth getting through book 1, because book 2 was really action packed, the Princess who was the main character was a lot more fun, her romantic interest was waaaay better, and all in all the polish of book 2 and book 3 made me super hyped for books 4 and 5.  There’s a consistent character throughout all of the series that I really enjoy his character arc, and he was the reason why I continued the series in the first place.  I think this series overall does a really good job of keeping the stories self-contained, while still furthering the over-arching plot of the series.  The Beast Princess was amazing start to finish, and hands down my favorite one in the series.  I find narratively, this is one of the better fairy tale retellings, and while it pays homage to the fairy tales they are inspired by, it doesn’t focus solely on fairy tale tropes like other retellings I’ve read.  The cast is well fleshed out, plot and world are great, and overall this series is an enjoyable fantasy romp that I can’t wait to read to its conclusion.

 

Fairy Tale Adventures by A.G. Marshal

 

Do you notice a trend here? I majorly got into reading fairy tale retellings in the early months of the year.  Fairy Tale Adventures however takes a very mature angle with the fairy tale retelling genre, and deals with heavy topics like not feeling like you’re good enough for your family, finding your own self-worth, and overcoming obstacles.  The romances in the series are really well rounded, and none of the couples feel like they are out of place.  I read Princess of Mermaids first in the series, and in this series it actually does affect your knowledge of the rest of the narrative because A.G. Marshal does have plot points from previous books interlink.  It wasn’t a huge hindrance, I just went back and read the first two books in the series, but it did make way more sense after doing so.

 

I think Princess of Shadows is the weakest book in the series.  I liked Leena fine, but her love interest I really didn’t care for and while it said it was a Princess and the Pea retelling, it really wasn’t.  It was an interesting story, don’t get me wrong, but fairy tale retelling as far as I know the story The Princess and the Pea was a stretch.  A better job was done for both Princess of Secrets and Princess of Mermaids, so I feel like Princess of Shadows just was a case of rocky book 1 writing.  But, if you want an awesome series, with powerful Princess that live up to having both feminine and masculine traits well balanced, pick up this book series.

 

The Elvan Alliance Series by Tara Grayce

 

I saved the best for last, as I adore this series!  The premise is a human marries an elf so an alliance between the two peoples is formed, but the books are so much more than that.  Essie and Farrendal’s relationship is just so sweet, and the themes of working towards growing your relationship, choosing your partner, making the best of a situation, and creating a family bigger than yourself out of two is just so wonderful.  I just finished book 2, and the cliffhanger at the end is so ugh!  I can’t wait to read book 3, I really need to revisit this world and see how it ends for the characters!
The world building is really interesting in the series too.  Sort of a steampunky industrial evolution vibe, but also with magic interwoven into the Elvan world masterfully.  I can picture all of the landscapes and structures described in the book, and while romance is definitely the focal point of the series, the politics and court intrigue aren’t just shrugged off for lovey-dovey bits.  There’s tons of lovey-dovey bits, don’t get me wrong, but both politics and romance take center stage when they need to.  It’s just overall a really enjoyable series, I can’t wait until September when the third book comes out!

 

And that does it for Bite-Sized Book reviews #2.  If you decide to read any of these series’, let me know!  I’d love to be able to talk about these with other people!

 

Once again, for more detailed reviews of these books, head on over to my Goodreads Page.  Thanks for reading this post, and happy reading any books you’re reading right now!

Books

The Spoken Mage by Melanie Cellier Full Series Review [Spoiler Free]

Sometimes you just find a book series you really enjoy.  It may be the characters, may be the world building, may be a bit of both.  It isn’t necessarily the best series, but you don’t care:  it just ticks all of your boxes, and you enjoy it for what it is.  I’m not one of those people who thinks everything should be a literary masterpiece, because that would be no fun.  What I like is an engaging story, that has a satisfying ending, and a great ride to get to said ending and for me, The Spoken Mage series is that.  Does it have story telling flaws?  I think so, especially with some of it’s pacing in the 2nd, and 4th books.  Is it a bit cliché?  Yeah, totally.  But do they do a good job building up the overarching plot, romance, and ending the story well?  Absolutely.  So for that, I honestly loved reading this series and recommend it to fantasy romance fans.

 

The premise of the series is what got me to pick this up in the first place.  In this world, the magic system revolves around writing.  Only nobles can  channel magic in a way that won’t kill them, so the common born are banned from reading and writing, so they don’t channel magic poorly and harm others.  Elena is a common born, who finds out she can use magic through speaking, not writing, and she’s sent to a magic school for noble born children to channel her gifts, and learn how to use them.  Crazy adventures, politics, and romance ensue  as the four book series is Elena’s time at the school.  Basic premise, right?  Other than the magic, I wasn’t super keen on a magic school setting.  I don’t dislike it per see, but there are a lot of tropes built into this sort of a setting and I hadn’t read a school setting since Harry Potter.  But, I had nothing to worry about, as there’s so much more to this world then just going to school.  I really enjoyed the themes set forth in this book, that Elena had to navigate the political landscape she was thrust into, and figure out how to fight for common born rights among a world of nobles.  She realizes however, being common born has its own set of issues, as does being mage born.  She and her classmates learn from each other, as they both had stereo types about each class group in their heads and it was nice seeing the characters grow from one another’s experiences.  Elena herself grows a lot throughout and it was just really enjoyable to read.
The romance is great too.  I love Prince Lucas so much, he was hands down my fav character and him and Elena growing and learning from each other was so fun.  I will say there were some parts in the series as far as their romance that were pretty groan worthy, but overall it was fun to read and I hope we get more stories with them in the future.

 

Now, the nitpicks I have mainly pertain to the 2nd and 4th books.  In book 4, everything was tied up a little too neatly, and there was a stretch in the middle of the book that just felt unnecessary, and only seemed to be an engine for the author to make sure all the plot points she wanted to happen for sure happened.  The book was the longest one, so I had hoped we’d get a bit more fleshing out for some characters, and that we’d get an extra chapter or 2 of wrap up.  I liked how it ended, but just an extra chapter or 2 would have pushed it over the top for me.

 

Book 2, I have so many issues with.  Like it was my least favorite in the series, it moved the plot forward the least.  I can’t super remember what happened in it?  I remember important things pertaining to Elena’s powers took place, and her and Lucas’ relationship happened as well, but other than key characters popping up and Elena’s powers developing, book 2 feels like a lot of missed potential.  There were moments like that throughout the entire series I feel, but they got glossed over by how much this series did right so it didn’t bother me too much.

 

The Spoken Mage series is a lot of fun.  Like I said, it ticked a lot of boxes in fantasy I like:  A lot of action, great romance, interesting magic and world, great characters and character development.  If you like a fairy tale style page turner of a series, you can read the entire series in this compellation here

 

I hope I was able to share my love of this series sufficiently!  I really enjoyed reading it, it was so much fun start to finish.  I think it’s important to highlight indi authors, and I plan to do so more later on this blog.  I’ve pretty much been reading self-published stuff exclusively for the past few months, I really enjoy the different things an indi author can do in their books as opposed to guidelines traditionally published authors have to follow.

 

Have you read any good self-published authors you like?  Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Cartoons

Steven Universe Future Review [Spoiler Free]

I was waiting for the entire show to finish, and the last few episodes dropped this week.  Steven Universe Future was…an interesting ride, but did it accomplish what it set out to do?  It was meant to be an epilogue series that took place after Steven Universe:  The Movie, so we could see what happened to all of the characters in the show.  While the end of season 5 wasn’t bad by any means, it left a lot of questions unanswered and overall was an unsatisfying conclusion to a show so heavily built on its character’s, world building, and lore.  So, the real question is, did it?

 

I’m going to leave this review spoiler free for the most part.  If you’re not well versed in the show, I’ll be mentioning character names and the like.  If you haven’t watched all of the main series of Steven Universe however, there may be minor things in this you won’t want to hear (it is an epilogue series, after all, that’s rather unavoidable).
So, as I said earlier, did Steven Universe Future accomplish its goal of filling in the gaps the series end left?  And for me, it half did.  There were some characters handled very well in this series, Jasper especially.  But the first half of this series felt pretty episodic, and not in a good way:  To me, a lot of the after effects we saw of the series, didn’t super matter.  Or rather, it wasn’t the questions that had majorly left us guessing.  They were fun, they were cute, and a lot of them were hard hitting, and filled story arcs that we wanted to see.  And, some were just light hearted fun that were like ok, I expected pretty much that end for the character.  But overall, the first half of the series for me left me going, “That’s it?  Really?”.  It was a pretty big letdown not having a decent amount of major plot points answered.

 

I will say, Steven’s arc was really well handled in this.  What he went through made tons of sense, and while in the series itself you’re like no way this isn’t hurting him, we see the culmination of the entire series, and its effects on him emotionally and you don’t realize we’ve been heading to that conclusion with subtle hints from beginning to end with this arc.  From his first interaction with Jasper, to how he handles Connie, you just see everything going down in his head slowly, but surely and it’s a great build.

 

In enters the second half of the series, which is a huge step up from the first half.  We get way more plot points that matter, and there’s a clear through line of events happening to further the plot.  It feels like the second half is leading towards the future, that the characters all have to use their life experiences to help one another out, and Steven’s arc is beautifully realized.  The ending was a bit rushed, but still well realized and the second half of the show made this epilogue series for me.  Just really well done, it felt like the first half and second half were different shows based on how they were paced.
one thing that bothered me the most was the lack of seeing the Diamonds.  When this show was announced, I was super excited that we would get an episode showing us what the Diamonds journey was, and how they reformed.  I really expected to see a flashback episode along those lines, like the ones we got with Rose Quartz in the series.  The Diamonds I think are the biggest point of contention for the fandom, which is something I’d like to talk about in another post, but I think showing us 1 or 2 episodes with them trying to figure out how to be good people and leaders, with Steven as their guide would have been fun, and it was sad not to see that happen.  I’m glad they showed up at all in the series, just wish them as characters were used a bit more after their change of heart.

 

If you’re a fan of Steven Universe, you’ll want to watch this show.  For me, it has a lot of the same problems that Steven Universe the show had:  a lot of filler that is fun and cute enough, but we could have used a lot of the run time to better flesh out the plot.  In this limited run series, I would have liked to see them go all in with character and plot development, no matter how subtle in some episodes, and I feel like we only got that in the second half of the show, aside from seeing Jasper and her growth.  But it’s fun to revisit the characters, and see what they’ve been up to, and Steven’s story arc in this makes him a far more likeable character then I found him to be in the series as a whole.

 

Have you seen the finale, and the show?  Tell me how you liked it in the comments!

Uncategorized

Miraculous Lady Bug and Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and the Modern Redemption Arc

I watch a lot of cartoons.  I’m sure anyone who has read this blog can attest to that.  I notice there are a lot of trends happening in recent cartoons, and find it quite interesting to wanted to talk about it.  Modern cartoons have a lot of nuance to them, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  I’m not saying this particular theme I’m talking about in this post doesn’t work, but it’s just fascinating to me how certain cartoons execute it, so I wanted to talk about it.
What I’m talking about, is the redemption arc.  In modern cartoons, we see a lot of characters that seem beyond redemption, or characters that it’s obvious will get a redemption arc.  In both instances, it can work, and the two examples of this I want to talk about are from Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and Miraculous Ladybug.  Needless to say, after this point in the post, major major MAJOR spoilers for both shows.

 

The first one I want to talk about is in Miraculous Ladybug.  Specifically, for the character Chloe.  I thought her story arc was super interesting, because it isn’t quite done yet.  We see in season 2, that Ladybug gives her a chance by giving her the Bee Miraculous.  When Master Fu asks Ladybug if that’s the right choice, she replies “Being Ladybug made me a better person, so maybe being Queen Bee will help Chloe”.  I thought this was a really mature way to go about starting a redemption arc, because so many times a bad character just is instantly reformed.  With this, you see that Chloe isn’t even close to a redemption, but it takes someone wanting to give her a chance to reform for her to try.  That being said, in season 3 she completely goes back to her old ways, possibly getting worse, but I’m curious to see what is going to happen in season 4.  Chloe was totally reforming for all of the wrong reasons before:  She was doing so to get her Miraculous, to show Ladybug that she was worth her idol’s time.  After realizing things weren’t going to work the way Chloe wanted to, she just went back to old habits.  She needs to truly want to change herself, and see that her actions have consequences.  Someone willing to give her a chance isn’t enough if she’s not willing to change, and having a cartoon show that to younger audiences I think is a really smart move.  Like I said before, it’s a mature way to frame a seemingly heartless character and give her more depth, while at the same time keeping an antagonist an antagonist until they truly earn said redemption.  And it is something that Chloe needs to earn, because she started off so far away from being a good person that we need to see her gradually change.  Which, once again, we saw glimpses of – it just wasn’t enough for her to overcome all of her inner demons, and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen as the story progresses.

 

In Tangled, we have the complete opposite situation.  Cassandra is a huge character in the series, and at the end of season 2, she betrays Rapunzel for her own ends and desires.  Now I wish we would have gotten a liiiittle more of her shown in season 3, but still there was enough to see her inner turmoil.  Her feelings towards Rapunzel weren’t invalid, but she wasn’t willing to acknowledge her own shortcomings in what happened either.  She wanted to prove she was more than what others saw in her, but she had no idea what she truly wanted to do in her life, or how to achieve it.  So as soon as she had a “chance” to prove herself, she tried.  When she realized that she was never going to get what she wanted through the means she tried to use, and actually had a heart to heart talk with Rapunzel, they both realized that perhaps they were going about the situation the wrong way and were able to part amicably at series end.

 

In this scenario, we also get to see Cassandra throughout the entire series, and her character growth.  But opposed to Chloe, Cassandra started out with good intentions, but was lost and hurt by the actions of other characters.  She used her anger to fuel her desires, but still wasn’t sure what exactly her desires were and it was interesting seeing her misdirection.  When the house of cards came tumbling down, she felt like a failure and it took her falling from grace to redeem herself, and realize trying to force what you want on yourself and push away your friends isn’t the answer.

 

Both of these are interesting, because they are both redemption arcs in completely different ways.  Cassandra started out good, lost her way, and found it again.  Chloe never knew what her way was, and is currently trying to find it.  She’s messing up and stumbling through her growth, but so did Cassandra and it took a good friend bringing her back from the brink to redeem her.  Chloe is going to need to see that the world doesn’t revolve around her, and that her actions and words matter and need to change before her inward change can occur.

 

It’s a really good way to show redemption arcs.  A plotted out, methodical series that viewers can track, empathize with, and understand.  It helps people see that people like this may exist in real life, and how to possibly deal with it in their lives.  A lot better than the old version where someone just reforms because the writers want them to, and we see no change whatsoever on screen and we’re just supposed to accept that they’re good now.

 

What do you think about modern redemption arcs?  Are some well done, others done poorly?  Some shows do too many of them?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

Books

Kindle Unlimited Impressions and Thoughts

For the past 3 months, I was able to get a 3 month free trial for Kindle Unlimited (thanks Black Friday!).  I’ve been using it a lot, and this past month I decided to read nothing but Kindle Unlimited books to see if it was worth the money.

For those of you who don’t know, Kindle unlimited is amazon’s book borrowing service.  It costs $9.99 a month, and you can borrow ten books before you have to return 1 to get another.  You can keep the books for as long as you want, and then return them, find other things to read, rinse repeat.  It’s a pretty useful service if you read a lot of books, but is it worth the subscription fee?

I’m going to just write down my thoughts in a numbered list of pros and cons, because I honestly have mixed feelings about it.  The library is extensive, that’s to be sure, but there are definitely cons to what is available in the Kindle Unlimited library, because any book in the program has to be exclusively sold on Amazon.  But I’ll get into that more as we get into the list, which will be right now!

 

  • As I just said, there’s a big library of books to borrow.  But, because of the Kindle Unlimited exclusivity, there’s more self-published books than not.  I’m not saying that self-published is bad, I’ve found a lot of gems in the fantasy section which is what I read.  But not having access to traditionally published stuff is a bit of a con, as if you have Unlimited, you’d have to pay the $9.99 subscription fee, and also buy books you’d want to read that aren’t in the Unlimited program.  Money wise, that would add up pretty quickly if you read a lot, which I do so that’s part of the reason why I’m torn on the service.
  • Because you have access to such a big selection of books, and only have to pay a flat fee, there is more freedom to read more and not worry about spending a ton of money. When I first got back into reading, I spent about 50 dollars on buying a lot of books, and it wasn’t nearly as many as I’ve read on Kindle Unlimited.  Now sometimes the quality of read is shotty, you have about a 50/50 chance of it being amazing, or really bad.  But, you have the same chances with a traditionally published book, because everyone’s reading preferences are different.  I did some approximate math on all the books I’ve read, and I saved a lot more money reading on Kindle Unlimited exclusively for the past few months, and was just as satisfied with my reads.
  • I find myself reading more, because you can check out ten books, and it’s free. Well, not free, but you get my drift: the subscription fee helps you just look at a book, see if you like it, and download it.  If you don’t like it, you don’t have to kick yourself over wasting money on a book.  I’ve found myself reading a synopses of a book, downloading, reading a bit and not liking it and just DNFing and returning the book.  Whereas if I had spent money on the book and not liked it, I would have forced myself to finish it so I wouldn’t have wasted my money, and been dissatisfied with the read.  So once again, a pro in the freedom category, because you don’t feel obligated to finish a borrowed book.  If you don’t like it, just return like you would at the library.
  • I’ve gone back and forth about one major question. I’ve been using this 3 month free trial, but if I had to pay for it, would I?  And my answer is…maybe.  I’m going to keep it for an extra month, because I’ve found a lot of authors that I like and are coming out with books in the month of March.  But after that, I think I’m going to try a month without it, and see how I like it.  There are a lot of books I’ve been putting off buying because I’ve had Kindle Unlimited, so this is a bit of a half pro, half con.  Because while I can read a lot of good books on this service, I’ve been putting off books I’ve wanted to read for a while because I have access to the borrowing program.  This is more on me, nothing is stopping me from straight up buying books, but just the fact that I don’t have to buy  if I want to read is a factor in itself for me.  Of course it’s up to everybody, that probably isn’t a factor for someone else, but it does stall me with reads I’ve had on the backburner for months and haven’t purchased yet.  So if you have the same sort of mindset as I do, just something to consider.

 

I think that’s pretty much everything I wanted to cover.  I like Kindle Unlimited for what it does, and it’s fun to have access to so many books.  Like I said, I’m a bit torn on whether it’s worth it or not, we’ll see how I feel when I’ve paid for a month of service.

 

Have you tried Kindle Unlimited?  How do you like it.  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Books · Editorials/Opinion Pieces

Fairy Tale Retellings Trope Talk

I was planning on writing a few reviews of some fairy tale retellings/reimagining’s that I’ve been getting into recently.  I read a few in the past month, and when I sat down to write the first review for one of the series’ I found myself coming up blank.  Not because I didn’t have a lot to say about the book, but because after reading a few in consecutive order, I realized what I wanted to talk about wasn’t just with that book series, and was more a fault of the fairy tale retelling genre in general.
So, for the first time, I’m going to be talking about tropes that I dislike.  With a lot of the retellings, they had a really good premise, and the synopses made them sound really interesting.  But after reading through them, there were parts of the books that just frustrated me, and permeated throughout the genre.  Out of the six that I read, there were two that I just found beautiful and a really good take on the fairy tales they retold.  They added to the lore of the original story, fleshed out certain aspects of them, and made them a true joy to read and had me thinking about them for a long time.  These retellings however, stuck very true to the originals, and simply expanded upon the source material with character work, magical lore, and world building.

 

The retellings I had more of an issue with, were the ones that were calling themselves retellings, but were really a reimagining.  Think of The Lunar Chronicles:  those books are heavily inspired by the fairy tales within them, but at the same time they stand on their own ground as an interesting series with a lot of fairy tale whimsy in them.

 

The reimagining’s I’ve read recently though, don’t hit a good balance between either of those.  They set themselves in a fantasy world, with its own lore and magic systems, but then they try and throw so much of the original fairy tale in there, while making it modern and cool, that the tropes were just so easy to pick out after a certain point.  I’m not saying tropes are bad, one executed well is always fun to see.  But if I can read a story, see a character pop up, call the trope before any hints are dropped and be right, well…that’s entirely too many tropes used to propel  your story forward, and it got pretty annoying after reading a few of these.

 

I’m not going to list these in any particular order, but I want to point out the ones I’ve noticed the most, and why they bug me so much.

 

  • The Prince is evil trope.  I blame Frozen for this honestly.  I notice it more in stories that were written after 2013.  But the whole a Prince shows up, is too good to be true, then oh snap, without any sort of hints or setup, he’s evil!  Then you find that out 3 or 4 chapters before stories end, and you’re just supposed to be on board with this.  It frustrates me especially because a lot of the time, this trope isn’t set up like in Frozen.  Instead, we see two love interests, one treats the main character like a jerk, the other like a charming, perfect gentlemen.  We see the nice guy court our heroine throughout the entire story, get invested in their romance, then without warning, bam!  He’s evil because…he has to be!  After all of the nice moments we saw throughout the book, seeing them connect and be a super cute couple, the Prince just turns out to be evil and it’s always infuriating.

 

I’ve seen it done well once.  Where the Prince turns out to be distant for a reason, and doesn’t turn out to be evil.  The relationship between him and our main character develops nicely, and while you may not be rooting for them when the story starts, you see their relationship grow into something nice.  The nicer guy turns out to be evil, but there were breadcrumbs left for us throughout the story to see this slowly shifting in the character.  I think it’s important to realize, that in Frozen, because it’s a movie, it’s fine to not see the Prince who turns out to be the bad guy in the movie.  We didn’t know much about him anyway, so him being evil wasn’t a big surprise:  We didn’t spend time with him or the main character, not long enough to be invested in their relationship, so it’s not a shocking blow when he just turns on our main characters.

 

But in a book, you have so much room to set up glimpses of a darker nature.  You can have the Prince and our main heroine connect, and have a relationship blossom, but we can have other scenes with the Princes darker side.  We don’t even need different scenes, we can just have glimpses when he’s with the MC or something.  But just having the rug pulled from under the reader is really irritating to me, and even though this isn’t a numbered list, this has to be the top thing that bothers me the most about fairy tale retellings.

 

  • The strong, independent woman trope.  Now I like strong women in stories, they’re usually my favorite characters.  But in fairy tale retellings, the MC is always the extreme of this trope.  I have a feeling it’s because of the makeup of the original fairy tale, where the women are always docile and more of a set piece  in their stories.  But there can be a nice balance between a strong, independent woman, and the more docile fair.  You can be strong in a non-sword toting, kick butt and take names kind of way and I rarely see this in fairy tale retellings.  The few exceptions I’ve seen are in Kate Stradling’s works, especially in Brine and Bone.  The Lunar Chronicles as well has a good balance of both fierce women, in masculine and feminine ways and I just wish we saw that more than the 1 type of woman.

 

  • The secondary love interest, who is a jerk to our heroine the entire story.  But for some reason, he has this sexy allure and the Prince is evil, so she winds up with him at the end!  Granted, this isn’t just a fairy tale retelling trope, it’s in a lot of books and will never become not frustrating.  But seriously, a guy being a jerk to you for the entirety  of you knowing him, him softening up not because he wants to, but because you call him out on his garbage treatment of you, then falling for him because he’s the supposed better choice?  I can’t stand it.  It’s obnoxious, and like I said earlier, it only happens when the Prince is evil!  I mean, why can’t our MC just end up with no one sometimes?  That’s ok too.  The only time this trope works is in Beauty and the Beast retellings, and for obvious reasons:  Because that’s the entire point of the story.

There are others I could point out, but they honestly aren’t as offensive as these 3.  The main character having a friend they meet that is the only one that likes them, the animal sidekick, the MC being clueless or down on herself, the MC having secret siblings and parentage they don’t know of.  All of these don’t bother me nearly as much as the ones I outlined earlier in the post.  Obviously, if my ranting isn’t an indicator, the evil Prince trope bothers me the most and it just has gotten to the point where it makes the read unenjoyable because that trope is so easy to spot.  Can we please get some more original stuff in these retellings, please?

 

All of that being said, I do thoroughly enjoy fairy tale retellings.  While they may blend together after a certain point, they do have interesting ideas in them, are major page turners, and the romances for the most part are an enjoyable ride.  The action in them is well thought out, and I really respect the author’s ability to craft a fairy tale connected universe, while having each book be a standalone.  The fantasy worlds are well thought out, as are the magic systems, and it’s always fun to spot references to the original story in their midst.

 

But the tropes…ugh, the tropes!

 

I hope you enjoyed this rather different type of post.  I enjoyed ranting about said tropes, at least.  Do you have any tropes in media you watch that you can’t stand, while still enjoying said media?  Let me know in the comments!