Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sunlight and Shadow

Sunlight and Shadow, by Cameron Dokey

YA/Fantasy/Retelling

Amazingly, this is a retelling of The Magic Flute. Yes, you read that right. This is a retelling of an opera for a teen audience. And, it basically works. Amazingly. Not that I'm not a fan of the opera. In fact, I think this is a fairly accessible opera, especially for a young audience, because it is a very fairy tale-like story. Which, I guess, is why Cameron Dokey, queen of fairy tale revisionism, has taken it on.

We have an epic tale, of the Queen of the Night and the Mage of the Day, who fight over their daughter, Mina. Love at first sight. Death defying adventure. Prophecies. And more.

Mina has grown up with her mother, the Queen of the Night. But, her mother and father have a pact, and on her 16th birthday, Mina must begin to live with her father. However, the Mage of the Day distrust's his wife, and kidnaps Mina before her birthday, planning to marry her to his apprentices, Statos. Why? Because when Mina was born, a prophecy stated that her marriage would change the world. And the Mage of the Day wants to control that prophecy, and have the world change in his favour. Mina though has different ideas.

Meanwhile, Lapin, servant of the Queen of the Night, and possessor of magic bells that play the song of one's heart, and call one's true love, is playing his bells on behalf of Mina. Pouring into his song all of his love for her, so that he might call her true love to him, and help to rescue her.

Meanwhile, Gayna, ward of the Mage of the Day is in love with Statos and jealous of Mina. But she cannot hate her.

Meanwhile, Prince Tern and his brother, Prince Arthur, are asked to perform a task to show which should take over their father's Kingdom. Prince Tern finds something he did not expect in the task, and sets out on a quest to find that which is in his heart.

And then all the stories begin to interweave. And all turns out as it ought.

This is a good retelling. It works in paper and story format without the glories of the stage and the soaring glorious music. And, Dokey has imbued her female characters with something more of the heroine than they get in the opera. Here they have minds of their own, act of their own accord, and on their own two feet.

That being said, I do not think this is one of Dokey's strongest efforts. Nonetheless, an enjoyable read, and an interesting experiment.

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