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Sesana

Sesana

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Childhood's End
Arthur C. Clarke
Siege
Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel
Scrivener's Moon - Audio
Philip Reeve
Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses - Ron Koertge, Andrea Dezso Really uneven. The idea seems to have been to do a series of fairy tale retellings, in free verse. I like that idea, it's why I picked the book up. But the execution varies wildly. Some of the poems are essentially straight retellings, but from a different point of view. The Cinderella poem that opens the book, for example, would only seem novel if you'd never heard about the stepsisters' original fate. There are one or two gems (The Princess and the Pea, for example, which gets into some of the darker implications of the princess's extreme sensitivity) but most of the poems aren't very original, or come off as though they're trying too hard to be.

That said, the art is universally successful. Done entirely in the sort of silhouettes seen on the cover, the art is both gorgeous and very effective. More than once, I felt like the art had done a better job telling the story than the poems had.

I'm curious as to who Koertge thought of as his audience for this, though. It's obviously too mature to be a kids' book. Both YA and adult fantasy are full of truly innovative fairy tale retellings (the various Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling anthologies, for example) so neither teens nor adults are likely to find much new and exciting here, unless they're very new to retold fairy tales. As for me, I just couldn't get into it, beautiful art or no.