And once again, the journey takes forever. So what happens the other eleven? She loses hope of finding her way. Someone shows up to help her. She is overly trusting and loses something for it, time or money or possessions. She sings to earn enough money to keep going. Some man falls in love with her. This happens at least four times. Camille irritates the hell out of me.
It takes her forever to figure things out. But finally the story picks back up, eleven months later, when Camille finally makes it to the three sisters, here the Three Fates. I liked this choice a lot, as well as the concept of time introduced. The sisters were done really well. Then we came to another standstill when we reached the winds.
The winds, here four ships named after the winds, all came to Camille rather than the other way around. She sat in a harbor and waited for each one to appear to see if it could carry her where she needed to go. And of course time was running out, and of course the ship she needed took the longest to appear, and of course the young man protecting her went with her when The North Wind finally came.
Once we got to the trolls, the story really picked up. The pacing was spot on, and the way McKiernan wove this part of the tale was very engaging.
Once Upon a Winters Night - Dennis L. McKiernan - Google Books
Camille challenges the marriage before the assembled court and challenges the King to a battle of riddles to win back her prince. She uses the gifts and riddles of the Fates and wins two of the three rounds. The King then changes the rules and says the final challenge must be physical. The King, Queen, and Princess cannot, but Camille, with the carding combs, can. But not really, and not in the ambiguous bittersweet way that I can get behind. No, the end of this story was as complicated and muddled as the middle bits — because McKiernan got so wrapped up in setting up the sequel that he forgot to deal with the end of the story.
Kick-ass but flawed heroine?
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For someone who was told to go the journey alone, she was hardly ever alone. There was always someone waiting to jump in and help. The only remotely clever thing she did on her own was the contest of riddles, but even in that, she used the riddles of the Fates and their prophecies. No point. At first I was a bit taken aback because this was a fantasy book that looked like a "chick-lit" style fantasy.
It would appeal to my wife and my daughter but it wasn't one that I would have rushed to pick off the shelf. But what was I to do? It was either plunge in or listen to talk radio all through lunch. I opted to give it a shot. I liked it a lot during that first hour or so. I didn't want to go back to work never do but often I get sleepy at lunch time with my reading and that was not the case this time.
I was enthralled.
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Nevertheless, I am a loyal reader so I completed Way of the Wolf before returning to this one. Mr McKiernan greatly expands the original tale, turns it into a novel basically, and adds some more intrigue, mild sex, and adventure. Once I returned to reading the book I was happily engrossed in that world once more. It has all the classic fairly tale themes: princes, damsels, goblins, dwarves, curses, quests, and above all, true love conquering all obstacles. Reading the book gave me a good feeling inside, made me happy in fact.
That sounds silly but it's true. This is the first book I've read by Dennis McKiernan. My research turned up some interesting facts though. Apparently he had a full career with Bell Labs before he ever began writing fiction and only came to that after a bad accident that left him in a full body cast.
Rather than go insane, he made up stories and actually wrote dictated? He found a publisher and at their suggestion, rewrote the story so that it wouldn't be a Tolkien story at all. Unfortunately, discerning fantasy readers tend to write him off as a result, never giving him a second look.
That seems to be the cardinal sin for fantasy authors Its too bad. I for one will be looking to read more of his work, especially the sequels to this one. Jul 28, Elfdart rated it it was ok.
Review: ‘Once Upon a Winter’s Night’ by Dennis L. McKiernan
May 09, Kathleen rated it really liked it Shelves: fantasy , fairytale-retelling , fun , read-in , romance , mount-tbr I really enjoyed this one. It is very much a 'retelling' of a fairytale in this case, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" ; unlike Ella Enchanted or Daughter of the Forest , it doesn't especially break with the traditional form.
It was very much a return to the hours during gradeschool spent buried in large volumes of fairytales: once upon a time, an utterly noble protagonist, a series of tests, a few unexpected twists, and a happily ever after. In spite of this, here is something especially c I really enjoyed this one. In spite of this, here is something especially charming in McKiernan's tale. The wealth of added detail to the familiar plotline reminded me of the particularly detailed illustrations in a couple of my favorite childhood picture books The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Saint George and the Dragon.
Come to that, I expect this novel would be a lovely read-aloud, as each segment of Camille's quest is contained to a few chapters. For a few afternoons, I thoroughly delighted in escaping to Faery and following Camille's adventures on her quest to rescue her prince from the dread trolls and their curses. Oct 13, Carol rated it really liked it. Wow, what a lovely, fun book to read! I liken some books to sorbets served between courses of an elaborate meal, and this one falls into that category: it goes down easily, it's refreshing, and it clears your mental "palate" between deeper reads.
I almost felt transported back to the Uncle Remus library on Gordon Street in Atlanta, nestled into a sling chair with the Blue Fairy book in my lap. The story is based on and faithfully retells the fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon". I Wow, what a lovely, fun book to read!
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'll definitely read the others by this author. Comments when this was on my 'currently reading' shelf Since the only unread book in my stack is another apocalyptically-themed novel, and since I didn't want to read two back-to-back, I went searching through Mark's hoard of books and discovered this one. The author's preface hooked me; he confesses having been absorbed as a child by the Rainbow Fairy books. His hypothesis is that as those stories were handed down to us through the years, they were changed and shortened from the versions spun by the fireside by bards of the old tradition, who set out to entertain their audience for nights on end.
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In this book he takes one of his favorites from the Blue Fairy Book, and reimagines it as it might once have been told. I'm just a couple of chapters into it but enjoying it so far.
ipdwew0030atl2.public.registeredsite.com/322741-how-to.php Oct 25, Marla rated it did not like it. I picked this up at a used bookstore based on the author, I liked his Mithgar books, but didn't care for this book. I had read some reviews here on goodreads that made me apprehensive, rightly so. There was no sense of urgency, even though the heroine had a specific time frame in which to complete her quest. At some points it was overly descriptive, which was okay in and of itself, I liked the description of the Summerwood estate, but did nothing for moving the story along in a timely manner.
Seve I picked this up at a used bookstore based on the author, I liked his Mithgar books, but didn't care for this book. Several times there were included some descriptions that were completely superfluous and did nothing for the story, not to mention they were Without them I might have upgraded my rating and read the others in the series, but as is I won't be reading the others.
Our local Amtrak station has a bookshelf were you can take a book off of it to read on your trip or leave one for someone else and I'm considering taking this book to leave there, but given those questionable parts I'm a little hesitate to do so View 1 comment. Mar 14, Jen rated it did not like it Shelves: didn-t-finish.