Recently Intasar Khanani recommended Masque by W.R. Gingell, and for .99, I decided to try it. Ha! I zipped through it top speed with a grin on my face.
Right now, I am in desperate need of fairy tales and magic. The recent flooding that has left half our state underwater is a bit too much reality to face. My usual therapy for difficult situations is to escape into books, and a little fantasy and magic--spiced by wit and humor--was exactly the right recipe.
Masque, besides the lovely cover, provided a delightful respite.
A reimagining of the Beauty and the Beast tale, Masque has a remarkable freshness and a unique approach. It is light and funny with charming characters -- in spite of the rather dreadful murders that occur.
Lady Isabella Farrah is the daughter of Civet's Ambassador to Glause and a very independent minded, happily unmarried spinster in her late twenties. Attending the Annual Ambassadorial Ball, Isabella finds herself besieged by the much younger Lord Topher, who seems determined to fall in love with her. Isabella has no intentions of letting his budding interest go further, but wants to let him down gently.
In the meantime, Lord Pecus does catch her interest. Known as the Beast Lord, Lord Pecus is under a curse and always wears a masque. Her friend Dylesia has done her best to dislodge the masque, quite unsuccessfully. This piques Isabella's curiosity.
Then events at the ball go haywire when an old and trusted friend is murdered and suspected of espionage. And away we go.
Isabella is a daunting investigator. Gathering allies who are dedicated and a little in awe of her, she proceeds at will to tackle the twists that occur. Even when she ends up as a hostage, Isabella manages to untangle many of the threads to the mystery.
I loved the dialogue. Isabella is never at a loss for just the right words for the occasion. Gingell has created amusing, articulate characters who romp through the pages, enjoying themselves immensely.
A light, clever, and engaging fairy tale retelling that manages to be fresh and original.
I had 3 minor quibbles. I won't mention them here, but don't think that they put me off the book. It was great fun!
Kindle purchase. :) for .99 and well worth it!
Fairy Tale/Fantasy. 2015. print version: 335 pages.
When I finished, I decided to try something else by Gingell. I decided on Wolfskin.
First, I need to mention that the Masque and Wolfskin are distinctly different in style. Both are retellings of familiar tales, but the approach is completely different. Wolfskin has a more traditional feel to it, and yet it, too, veers drastically from the original tale of Red Riding Hood.
Truthfully, Gingell's reimagining takes little more than the idea of a young girl and a dangerous wolf and develops an entirely new tale that draws on more than one fairy tale theme.
At seven, Rose decided she would be a bloodthirsty pirate with the name Cutlass Rose. At fourteen, Rose is a feisty tomboy who, in spite of living in a loving family, has dreams of adventure. She finds domestic duties cumbersome and boring and longs for daring exploits.
When her mother finally agrees to apprentice her to the local forest witch Akiva, Rose is delighted, hoping for magic and excitement. Initially, Rose is disappointed not to sense the magic she expected. Discovering that hard work in the garden is one of her chores, she despairs of her dreams of adventure.
And then she meets the wolf in the forest and steps off the path....
I liked Wolfskin even better than Masque and plan to read much more of W.R. Gingell!
Fairy Tale/Fantasy. 2015. print version: 300 pages.
I'm also excited about Intasar Khanani's sequel to Sunbolt. I've pre-ordered Memories of Ash. You can check her cover reveal and give-away here.
Oh, yes, I'm in a fairy tale mood right now! :)