By Cameron Dokey
  Absence makes the heart grow fonder in three romantic retellings…
  She did it again!!! Such amazing fairytale retellings!!! Although…I didn’t love it as much as Once. It doesn’t surprise me that much, I prefer more the twist in Once. Still, a great book, without doubt. Kissed contains three Cameron Dokey’s stories: Belle, Sunlight and Shadow, and Winter’s Child. Hum…Belle is my favorite, which is the retelling of Beauty and the Beast…which I’ve already read thousands of retelling. As for Sunlight and Shadow…it doesn’t count as a fairytale retelling at all! It’s an opera retelling! Yes, mark my words, opera. It’s a retelling of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which has the most famous song about the Queen of Night. And the last one, Winter’s Child, the retelling of Snow Queen. I’m not quite familiar with this story, actually. I only have a brief memory when I read in my childhood…very, very long time ago.
  I love Cameron Dokey’s writing, the words seems to have magic that drown you inside. I can hardly remember what I’m doing after reading her books. All I know is that those words keep echoing behind my mind. Her retellings are unique, and it feels like the fairy tale itself, but in a more modern way. In a way that we will no longer sneer at those…umm…idiot protagonists. Sure, love at first sight, happily ever after, and princesses plus princes still remain in the stories, but who cares? The stories themselves are brilliant written. I love to read her book out loud when I was reading, feeling the description and the words that flow through my mind. It was just amazing to do so. It’s like reading Shakespeare’s drama. Besides, her prologues are the best. They always speak something that can be perfect quotes and you’ll agree with them. I was so anticipated to read her prologues all the time.
 So, why don’t we start? 

  Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters’ awe-inspiring beauty, so she withdraws from society to focus on her art, in BELLE. But when her father is held captive by a terrifying beast, Belle’s the only one with the courage and creativity to save him, through first she must believe in herself.
  As I said, Belle is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The story itself didn’t have that much twist like her Cinderella retelling or Rapunzel’s, but what’s interesting is that we don’t have a beauty in the story. Well…sort of. We did have three beauties: her mother and her two sisters, but no, not Belle. Cameron really likes to give her protagonists unpleasant look…really. Not ugly or hideous, yet definitely not the typical type of beauties we’ve expecting. Nevertheless, in original stories, the third one is always the fairest of them all. If he is the third son, he’ll be the bravest, if she is the third daughter, she will be the fairest. But nope, not in this one. Belle somehow hid under the shadow of her sisters’ beauty, and she hated it so much. But she has the talent of craving wood…which I still have no idea what connection did it have with the story. Perhaps the part that Belle asked her father to bring home the branch that fell on his shoulder and the one that brought all the trouble? However, I’m sure that the craving talent somehow shows that Belle has her beauty, a beauty that was hidden inside her. The entire story feels a bit like the French movie version of Beauty and the Beast, a remarkable beautiful movie. How they was forced to bend under the beast’s will and how the ending came. But in this story, the ending itself came in a fast pace, I was like “what happened next?” and then the next minute, out of aware, here came the ending. This is somehow the part that I was sometimes disappointed with her stories…however, the stories themselves were great…so that’s make up a little bit for the quick ending.
  Besides Belle, her sisters were amazing as well. Unlike the…umm…silly sisters in the French movie, Belle has two great sisters. Not just because of the beautiful appearances, of course. When they were forced to move, her sisters showed that they were not merely city girls, but they can survive well without all those fabulous gowns and jewels. Celeste, the eldest, had sharp tongue and mind. Although she might seem to be cruel at first, care nothing but her beauty, you’ll find her much more at the middle part of this story. And April, the second, also had an unexpecting…umm…habit? Oh! And in case that you wonder the name, they were all name under their born time, except for Belle, who was named after her grandmother. All in all, I give four stars to this story, after all, it is a great story, although not as good as the previous I read.

Sunlight and Shadow
In SUNLIGHT AND SHADOW, Princess Mina is kidnapped. Desperate to be reunited with her daughter, the Queen of the Night promise Mina’s hand in marriage to the prince who rescues her. But can Mina secure her own happiness?
  I had written a spinoff story about Phantom of the Opera, which is, Memory. Wait…why are you mentioning this? Ah! That’s because this is an opera retelling! Not a once upon a time! The story itself is quite similar to the original opera, except that we no longer had a silly princess, which I suppose that’s Mozart’s mind of princess, and a Queen of the Night, who destined to be evil. No, the story has two loveable females! Wait, no, that’s three…I almost forget Papagina. (Is that how it spells? I’m not sure, at least sound like that.) Mina is the daughter of sun and moon, the combination of both. For her entire childhood, she lived with her mother, until her sixteenth birthday. Yet, her father broke his oath and took her before the night, which made her mother extremely furious. And then the princess…blablabla. I love how Cameron gave Mina a strong personality, like her mother and father. She would rather follow her heart and disobey her father. And no, the Lord of Sun wasn’t as mighty as he seemed in the original opera. He had his own grievances, but he kind of deal with it with a wrong way. He hurt not only one, but three. In Cameron’s stories, you can see that marriage isn’t always perfect, like there are quarrels, fight, disagreements…and lots of lots of things to conquer. So it’s no so happily ever after…to sum up. Oh! And I want to introduce an interesting character to you as well! Not the price or Papagino in the opera, but Papagina. In the original story, she came out of nowhere, yet in this story, she was adopted by the Lord of Sun. and when the time comes, after I realize it was the retelling of The Magic Flute, I was like “Oh my god! That’s her, she was definitely Papagina!” as it turns out, I’m right! And she was smart in this story, not like the one in…yes, the opera, which seemed only appear to be a wife.
  I love how the story was managed and how it goes. The evil might not seemed to be so hateful, and the good one might not be so great all the time. I gave it three stars, as it gives all the females characters a new sight. But it doesn’t wow me that much, so, sorry, no four stars…

Winter’s Child
  When her best friend is lured from home by a dazzling Snow Queen in WINTER’S CHILD, Grace sets out on a dangerous mystical journey to find him…and the true meaning of love.
  I cried like a baby when I read this book, really. I kept sobbing and weeping, and I couldn’t stop myself!!! But that doesn’t mean I will give this book five stars, no. I’m not so satisfied with the ending, not at all. Although I came to accept it and like it, gradually. After all, you’ll never know what’s happen. As long as it’s a happily ever after, I think I can agree with that.
  The story has a lot of POV, really, it just keep switching from here to there, now and then. This is the most confused one, although the story was easy to understand. But…why do we have to keep changing? Ah!! I hate that! We can read not only Grace, but also the Winter’s child and Kai. Right, Kai! (I’m sorry, but I can’t remove the Kai in The Lunar Chronicles…so…I’m a bit confusing while I read this story. But the Kai in Winter’s Child is definitely not as charming as Cinder’s Kai.) I didn’t love this story as much as the other ones, I can’t tell why, but I think it’s because I’m too unfamiliar with Snow Queen. So I can only recognize the part that mirror shattered into pieces and hit into the heart, and the part of two companions. I original wish that Grace and Kai can be together, but then in the first part of this book, I realize that that’s not going to happen, and feel a bit disappoint when they fight. However, I came to accept that their love was like brother and sister, not lovers. So…I’m fine with that. I gave three stars to this story, as it touched my heart, but…um…it wasn’t my favorite, that’s all. (I apologize for Winter’s Child’s review! I have no idea what I was doing!!! Ah!! It’s horrible!)
  So…although this book isn’t as amazing as Once, I still like it. And if you’re looking for unique fairytale retelling, not YA, not romance, rather fairytale-like fairytale retellings, I’ll highly recommend you to read Cameron Dokey’s books. She has the one of the most beautiful writing and you’ll be dragged into the stories without even noticing.

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