The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the number one New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and the Simon Snow series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

The Prince and the Troll is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take the happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened, and frightened all over again.

I’ve been checking out a lot of Amazon Original Stories recently, and I’ve always been a fan of fantasy and fairy tales, so it was a no-brainer to check out Rainbow Rowell’s short story addition to the Faraway Collection, The Prince and The Troll. Less than an hour in audiobook form or about 30 pages on an e-reader, Rainbow Rowell does a good job spinning the classic fairytale of the troll under the bridge. Narrator Rebecca Lowman did a good job bringing the story to life with her performance in the audiobook.

When I went into the book, I admittedly expected the prince referenced in the title to be an actual prince, but that’s not quite the case. It’s a modern day fairytale, where the “prince” is more of an average person rather than someone living in a literal castle. I did appreciate the gender-bent aspect of the story, as the troll in this is a female. The romance is clean and well-written, so that’s another plus.

One major drawback of the story (and a large part of the reason why I couldn’t give it a full five stars) was how much Starbucks was mentioned in this book. It’s 29 pages, and I’m pretty sure they went through the entire menu of drinks. I realize that the original coffee the ‘prince’ brings the troll is integral to the story, but the level detail they used in describing each drink was excessive and detracted from my enjoyment of the read. The other major drawback was the ending, as it was a bit confusing and didn’t really leave me feeling like I had closure with the characters and the story as a whole.

Overall, it was a good story, and I don’t feel like the time I spent reading it was wasted. If you enjoy modern retellings of fairy tales with a genderbent twist, this would be a good choice (especially if you have Kindle Unlimited).

The Tangled Woods by Emily Raboteau

The Tangled Woods by Emily Raboteau
Dark Corners collection
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Genre: Contemporary, Horror
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

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Poison-tongued film critic Reginald Wright is known for his creative insults and intolerance for the garbage culture, insufferable rudeness, and thoughtless racism of predictably common people. Now, against his better judgment, and with a marriage in crisis, he’s attempting a getaway in the Poconos that quickly fulfills his every low expectation. In fact, it’s becoming a nightmare. And that’s just what Reginald needs to wake up.

What dad wouldn’t be excited to be headed on a five night family vacation to Big Bear Lodge in the Poconos? Not widely know film critic Reginald Wright. In fact he seems to bring the grouchiness of a bear with his sour mood and bitter attitude. I feel sorry for Reggie’s wife, Ladette and their son, Thurgood, that they have to deal with such a sullen temperament. Reggie seems to not be aware of how his words can hurt but that will soon change.

This is a well written short tale that delivers a gloomy story of an unhappy man. I wouldn’t categorize the story as scary… more along the lines of disturbing. Starting with Reggie’s depressing and mean behavior, to his odd dream to the encounter with the man upstairs. For such a short story, the author’s words held my attention and drew me in. I felt sympathy for the characters. Sad that a father can’t see what good he has in his wife and son. A son that looks up to his father, but also seems to recognize that his father needs healing.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style and how she put so much into just a few pages. I also like the author’s use of uncommon words that gave the story a certain flare.