Diversity Spotlight Thursday: Royalty | 3 Days, 3 Quotes [Day 3]

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Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal from Bookshelves & Paperbacks. Each week you come up with three book for three different categories: a diverse book you’ve read and enjoyed; a diverse book that’s already been released and is in your TBR; and a diverse book that hasn’t been released yet.

Today we’re donning all the crowns, the jewels, the unwieldy layers of fabric, and exploring some diverse books that feature royalty! This was a hard one, but it was either royalty or diverse pilots (you’ll see why in the second half of the post).

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The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

Captive Prince was the first “royal” book that popped to mind, but that one has issues regarding sexual violence, so instead I’m picking the next diverse yet controversial book that immediately popped to mind (because I hate making things easy for myself, apparently), which is The Tiger’s Daughter. There are those who absolutely hated the representation of Asian culture in this book (Japan and Mongolia in particular), others who loved it, and others who didn’t much care. It’s a matter of inspiration vs. appropriation, and while I do think the worldbuilding is lazy in some respects, I don’t believe it portrays East Asian countries in a disrespectful or malicious manner.

So with that immediate digression…

The Tiger’s Daughter is an epistolary novel that follows the lives of Shefali, a child of the nomadic Qorin tribe, and Shizuka, the future empress of Hokkaro–two young girls whose fates were entwined from birth. The prose is breathtaking and the romance between the two characters is beautifully drawn out. The second book is coming out this October and I’m quite eager to get my hands on it.

A-book-on-my-tbrThe Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker is a standalone graphic novel that stars a prince who loves wearing dresses and his best friend who loves making those dresses. It seems like a sweet story reminiscent of the Princess Jellyfish manga series, and it’s been getting heaps of praises, so I very much look forward to checking it out.

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Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

 
In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

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This book doesn’t have a royal protagonist, but it’s set in a royal environment and has a king as a major character, so I figure it’s close enough. The premise reminds me a little of Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy (except more queer and Asian), and I find the “forbidden romance” aspect rather intriguing.

Releases November 6th, 2018

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This is Day 3 of the 3 Days, 3 Quotes, for which I was tagged by Alyssa from Serendipitous Reads!

The Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you
2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
3. Nominate three new bloggers each day

For this last day, I’d like to feature a quote from my favourite littlest prince of all time:

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The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is my favourite children’s book and one of my favourite books of all time. It’s one of those stories that sinks its claws into you and refuses to let go, becoming more and more meaningful as you grow older.

It also comes with a rather romantic and tragic backstory (or afterstory, rather). The Little Prince opens up with an aviator crashed on a desert, and Saint-Exupéry himself just also happened to be a pilot (he’d inserted his experience with his own near-fatal crash into the story). He’d flew with the Allies during World War 2, until one day, during one mission, he vanished without a trace.

A partial wreckage of his plane has since been found, but I like to believe that he flew himself all the way to Asteroid B-612 to be with the Little Prince. I hope that wherever he is, he managed to find some measure of peace and comfort as I found in his story.

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Today I tag: You! Everyone! If you wish to be tagged, consider yourself tagged!

Top 5 Wednesday – Children’s Books to Read as an Adult

“Top 5 Wednesday” is a weekly meme currently hosted on Goodreads by Sam of Thoughts on Tomes, where you list your top 5 for the week’s chosen topic. I thought it’d be fun to join in and that it might help me keep some semblance of a consistent schedule for this blog.

This week’s theme is: children’s books that should be revisited as an adult. As Philip Pullman said, some stories can only be told through the eyes of children. But that doesn’t mean you should stop reading them once you grow older. One thing to note: it’s been forever since I read a new children’s release, so all my suggestions are like, pre-2011. Also, some of these straddle the line between Children/Middle Grade and Young Adult.

1. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo

Tale of Desperaux
I could add all of Kate Dicamillo’s works to the list and they would happily fill up the whole roster, but I’ll refrain and just pick one. The Tale of Despereaux is the story of a very special mouse, one with very large ears and an even bigger heart, who falls in love with a princess. If that sounds like a cute fairy tale, brace yourself, because it’s not. As with most of Dicamillo’s works, there are heavy topics mixed in with the soft and fuzzy. This one features prejudice and abuse, but also the power of compassion and forgiveness–a contrast of light and dark that adult readers will appreciate.

Young or old, this is a necessary read that will break your heart and mend it anew.

2. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials 1) by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass
I still can’t believe Pullman got away with calling this series children’s fantasy because holy hell, he took the genre to crazy places others wouldn’t dare dream of going. The Golden Compass (or The Northern Lights) definitely feels more suited for children than the later books, where things get a hell of a lot more dark and abstract. That’s not to say it’s a stroll through a daisy field; there are scenes that freaked me out as a kid and still make me shudder to this day. Then there are bits to do with authoritarianism, religion, sexuality, string theory and such that you just don’t fully understand or appreciate until you’re older.

I think the series is a masterpiece. Others think it’s trash. My church minister said I would go to hell for reading it. And so on. It’s a shifting minefield of opinions. So if you read the books as a kid, it’s definitely worth going back and re-examining them with shiny new adult eyes.

3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
A Gaiman book that defies age groups? Huh, you don’t say.

The Graveyard Book is a retelling of Kipyard’s The Jungle Book. In Gaiman’s version, the story is set in contemporary times and the main character, Nobody, gets adopted by the denizens of a graveyard. The graveyard Gaiman creates is a strange, beautiful world of its own filled with its own traditions and mysteries. It’s one that rivals adult fantasies in terms of atmosphere and detail, so you get just as much enjoyment and wonder out of it as you did when you were a kid.

The story is also worth revisiting just for the full-cast audiobook version, which is absolutely stellar and really helps bring the characters to life.

4. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with Dragons
The first in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a clever story that subverts classic fantasy and fairy tale tropes. When our protagonist, Princess Cimorene, overhears that she will be married her off to some random Prince, she decides to take matters into her own hands by running away and volunteering herself to be the personal princess of a dragon. Now, if all the knights and princes would just stop trying to rescue her, things would be perfect.

Cimorene isn’t a “not like the other girls” brand of rebellious princess, which is great, and her no-nonsense attitude and wry humour will be an absolute delight for older readers. All in all, it’s a fun and charming read that I often return to when I need a pick-me-up.

5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince
The Little Prince is a small book that is chock full of timeless wisdom and I think its teachings become more and more relevant as you grow older. What was once a strange, but wonderful, little story about a pilot who meets a boy from the stars, becomes a story on the nature of love and remaining true to yourself in a world that tries so hard to scrub the magic out of you. I first met Little Prince and his friends when I was six and they have lived deep in my heart since, ever a source of inspiration and comfort. Wherever Saint-Exupéry is–and I like to believe that he flew himself all the way to Asteroid B-612–I hope he found some measure of peace and happiness, as I found in his words.