By Cameron Dokey
Behold, another fairytale retelling!!! The first time I’ve heard about this book was when a website was voting for the fairest dress among the book cover. (Of course…those which were popular get more vote, I remember the top five books includes all of The Selection series. And of course, I voted for Entwined.) and then recently when I visit bookstore, I found this book on sale, so…it turns out that Once become one of my book collection. But it is worth reading, from the moment I started this book, I hadn’t found a bit of emotion called “regret.” This book is almost like fairy tales! Not just merely retelling! Now, let’s enjoy the three stories form this book: Before Midnight, Golden, and Wild Orchid.
Cendrillon has been forbidden by his father to ever leave their estate grounds, much less visit the king’s court. With a royal ball approaching, Cendrillon will now challenge her understanding of love and test her courage in Before Midnight.
In Golden, Rapunzel, bald and without hope of growing hair, must break an enchantment to free her heart—and the heart of another. But a sorcerer’s betrayal threatens to overwhelm Rapunzel, which can leave the two cursed forever if she can’t trust in true love.
Disguised as a boy, Mulan joins the military in Wild Orchid. But she never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in Prince Jian, the commander of her division. For all of her courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feeling with the prince.
So, what’s special about this book? From the moment I finished Entwined till now, I’ve read a lot of fairytale retelling. Such as The Twelve Dancing Princess series + Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Fairytale Romance series + Medieval Fairytale series by Melanie Dickerson… All of them have their own unique, and this book has its own advantages as well. To me, like I’ve mention above, Once is so great that it could be fairy tales which can be list beside Grimm’s fairy tale or Anderson’s fairy tale. The story I love in this book most is Cendrillion, a retelling of Cinderella. Cendrillion is the French name of Cinderella, and with the author’s own unique point of view. Unlike other Cinderella retelling, Cendrillion focus on true love, but not just limit in “Prince Charming” or “True Love Kiss.” Instead, its love involve family, sisterhood, and of course, couple. As we were told in the original Cinderella story, she was cruelly treated by her stepmother and stepsisters. In some stories, her father died not long after he re-married or he didn’t know anything about the cruelty. (How come that’s possible? Did you ever care for your child?) However, we have a twist in Cendrillion. Cendrillion’s father wasn’t died, nor did he even live with Cendrillion. Since Cendrillion’s mother died from giving birth, her father blamed her for that. Besides ignoring Cendrillion, her father also brought home a boy called Raoul. Both of them were forbidden to leave the estate. And after years past, her father re-married, and he sent his new wife to the estate, along with her two daughters. Now, that’s when the interesting part began. The new stepmother wasn’t cruel, she simply neglected everything around her and put herself in deep sorrow. Why? Read the story yourselves. However, the two stepsisters, one rude, and the other nice. And more, when they first came to the estate, none of them knew Cendrillion’s true identity, they simply thought her as a servant. Interesting? Weird? There’s more. Love was what connected the entire story. From the first time Cendrillion’s father abandon her and wept at her mother’s grave, the place became unfertilized. Not a single plant can grow. Then, it was also love that brought the land a glimpse of hope, and brought her stepmother some happiness. And love also broke the tension in the house. (What was that? An interesting twist in the story.) Last, it was also love that Cendrillion’s mother’s tree started to grow again. Oh! And most of the things happen “before midnight.” I just love this story so much! It is my favorite stories in the book. I love how the characters grow and their relationship change, how they found love and hope, and how they confront every problem.
Now, how about the Rapunzel story? Well…Golden is totally a complete different retelling. As we all know, Rapunzel had a shiny golden hair, as bright as the sun, as smooth as the stream. But then, in Cameron Dokey’s story…our dear Rapunzel was bald. Shock huh? From the moment she was born, she was dislike by her mother and fed by the sorceress. And actually, not until the last part of this story will you know what really happen. It is totally unexpected, but great. We follow Rapunzel ‘s childhood, and her relationship with the sorceress. Then, with the company of two other men, one includes her childhood sweetheart. (Or…perhaps only a close friend? I don’t know…find out yourselves.) But one day…she would find her life was a lie…she was only a chess of others. So…the narrator was Rapunzel herself, yet it wasn’t her at the same time…well…I’m also a bit confuse. But well twist, I love this kind of version very well. In this story, Rapunzel ‘s saver wasn’t Prince Charming, nor she was locked in the tower. Haha! I’m sure that you have no idea what I’m saying. So…let’s move on!
The last story is the retelling of Mulan. This is the first time I’ve read retelling about Mulan. She was one of my favorite heroines among all Disney princesses, I think that’s because she is a Chinese? Or perhaps there are other reasons that I don’t know… What’s more, she is known by every Chinese. In one chapter in our Chinese book, the poet of Mulan is what all junior high school students must learn. (Is that what it’s called? Hum…something like that…) And in this retelling, a totally different version from Disney’s Mulan. Well…Cameron Dokey really like mother died from giving birth…Mulan’s mother was also died because of that. So, her entire childhood was through without parents. Where was her father? Due to the reason that he was the general of Emperor…he couldn’t come home at all, for more than ten years. Such a great reason huh? Mulan’s childhood was mostly past with the company of Li Po, her neighbor. Well…don’t be exciting yet, they were not childhood sweetheart at all. Although Li Po’s mother kept worrying it from happening. Then…Mulan’s father came back and found that his daughter had grown into a boy… And after months, his father re-married, and his relationship with Mulan had also improved. But then, here came the Emperor’s order that every family should send one man to serve the army. Mulan knew how much her father and stepmother was in love, especially they were expecting a child. So knowing her father wouldn’t survive in normal soldier, she disguised in boy and joined the army. And because her perfect skilled of archery, she was noticed by the third prince, and was chosen in the archery team. And…no more spoiler!!! Hahaah! I really like this retelling of Mulan, although the end had some sadness and… but still…not all stories came with perfect ending, that’s life, after all. I love how Mulan gain her father’s permission to be herself and not to marry, especially in that period. (Well…unfortunately, that only happened in well-known family in China…it was impossible for normal girl to be like that.) But still, her spirit was worth cheering for.
It is so great that I find myself another fairytale retelling! And now I have more to read!!! It’s a bless, but also a burden to find what you love…right?
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