The final book in the Faraway series is the wickedly funny The Wickeds. This story takes a look at the aftermath of the Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel fairy tales. This story, though, instead of being told through the perspective of the the princesses, is told through the perspective of their wicked stepmothers. The stepmothers begin gathering together socially and discussing their pasts. They spill details of these stories from their perspectives and commiserate over how grateful their stepdaughters are. After all, in their perspective, they were nothing but good, and their stepdaughters have turned against them.
The more time they spend talking, the more they begin to wonder if their time for revenge against their bratty stepdaughters has come.
I noticed . . .
I noticed that the voices of the stepmothers are warm and relatable. Their perspectives also added a richness to the story that lifted the stories out of the “fairy tale” dimension.
As the perspectives are added, the details of the story we know are questioned. Fairy tales become a slick business, and that’s really fun. I especially appreciated what we really learned about the fairy godmother. Forman’s details on that were over-the-top delicious.
I wondered . . .
Most of these women had husbands, and I wondered what the story would have looked like from the husbands’ perspectives. I especially want to hear the perspective of Cinderella’s dad.
It reminded me of . . .
Of course, I couldn’t help but be reminded of both the original stories and the Disney movies. These stories are so familiar, and this novella was a great chance to visit them again.
I was also reminded of a few stories that bring complexity to the fairy tales in their own right. I specifically remembered Once Upon a Time, which really gets to the heart of the question of whether or not a villain can be reformed.
I also enjoyed reading the Whatever After series of books with my daughters when they were younger. With each story Abby and Jonah step into a different fairy tale and mess up the ending. In most cases, they give the stories a better ending than the original tale.
Another favorite fairy tale series of my older daughter is The Ever Afters series. In these books, the teens go to a magical school, and each teen is destined to start in his or her own fairy tale. It is a series where I’ve read all four books and really enjoyed them as well.