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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Letters to Zell by Camille Griep [Book Review]

Title: Letters to Zell
Author: Camille Griep
Publisher: 47 North
Source: Publisher for honest review.

Everything is going according to story for CeCi (Cinderella), Bianca (Snow White), and Rory (Sleeping Beauty)—until the day that Zell (Rapunzel) decides to leave Grimmland and pursue her life. Now, Zell’s best friends are left to wonder whether their own passions are worth risking their predetermined “happily ever afters,” regardless of the consequences. CeCi wonders whether she should become a professional chef, sharp-tongued and quick-witted Bianca wants to escape an engagement to her platonic friend, and Rory will do anything to make her boorish husband love her. But as Bianca’s wedding approaches, can they escape their fates—and is there enough wine in all of the Realm to help them?
In this hilarious modern interpretation of the fairy-tale stories we all know and love, Letters to Zell explores what happens when women abandon the stories they didn’t write for themselves and go completely off script to follow their dreams.

We all love fairy tale retellings, and this book is a very different take on the classic stories we have been told and it puts a different twist on all of the loved characters. It is told through a different lens as it is written in a series of letters to Zell (Rapunzel) from her closest friends.

Initially this form of story telling was hard to follow for me. I don't often read books told in letter form, so I wasn't used to the style and it made things confusing for me. This feeling passed the farther into the book I went and eventually I didn't notice the story style and became used to it.

The characters were very different than the perfect creatures we are shown in the stories we know. I expect this from retellings, but the unhappiness that was felt by each "princess" was somewhat surprising but it definitely wasn't unwelcome. I enjoyed seeing this potential other side that felt like a "behind the scenes look."

I really liked the idea of their "pages" that they have to finish. These story characters essentially must complete their pages before they are allowed to live their own life -- and even then they are stuck with the life their pages gave them. Their pages reflect the stories we know, but they aren't always life choices the characters are happy with.

We have princesses who are living double lives, and who are unsatisfied living in their storybook -- which is a story I can get behind!

CeCe (Cinderella) was struggling to decide what she truly wants to do with her life, Aurora (Rory) is desperate to please her husband who she really doesn't like too much, and Bianca (Snow White) misses her father and is marrying a guy because it fits into her "pages." The drama was out there, the characters at times confusing, but ultimately this story was good for those interested in fairy tale retellings mixed with The Real World.

They are able to travel to our world which was an added aspect I enjoyed, and though the princesses struggle with who they are and want to be, it was an interesting story filled with bumps and turns!

Overall: If you're a fan of fairy-tale retellings you should check this one out! It is a very original and interesting take on modern day princesses struggling to complete their pages and live their life at the same time.


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