Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Favorite Adaptations: Jim Hines' Princess Series

Here is Rachel's entry in the Favorite Adaptations giveaway. This is one of the more recently published recommendations sent by readers. And while we are here, if you have somehow missed Jim's Striking a Pose (Women and Fantasy Covers) and recent Posing Like a Man blog entries, you have missed out on some humorous social commentary--which Hines is known for anyway.

The Stepsister Scheme (PRINCESS NOVELS) The Mermaid's Madness (PRINCESS NOVELS) Red Hood's Revenge (PRINCESS NOVELS) The Snow Queen's Shadow (PRINCESS NOVELS)

One of my absolute favorite recent adaptations is the set of Jim Hines' Princess books. Starting with the Stepsister Scheme, he takes a Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty who are post-their-own-stories and casts them into a Charlie's Angel-esque adventure that calls for all their strength and smarts.

Although the books take place after the fairy tales that Hines draws from (he also covers The Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Snow Queen in the later books, with references and characters from other stories), he gives the stories and characters such depth and diversity that I grew to love them over the course of the books. Hines offers readers a choice of role-models, and none of them are passive, waiting to be rescued, or simply wimpy. Danielle (Cinderella) is now married to a prince and starts the series pregnant. She's clever and warm and somewhat motherly throughout the series, offering the most "traditional" female role in the books. She's also heroic and brave and active. Talia is a martial princess, more drawn to weapons than romance, and takes to training the other two princesses with the conviction that she is really the only thing keeping them alive when they're in danger. And Snow is magical, flirtatious, and sassy, and usually the one with a ready quip for any situation.

Hines' characters are all from older versions of the stories--so poor Talia/Sleeping Beauty wasn't awakened by a kiss, but by giving birth to twins. And although Hines sticks with the original stories, the characters become their own twists on their stories, giving a reader a lot to think about when following a well-worn story.

There are four books in the series, and in my opinion each book is stronger than the last. They are well worth reading, both for the originality imbued in classic fairy tales, and for their wonderful, tenacious princesses.

Rachel Ayers

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