Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Light Princess and Other Stories

By George MacDonald

When the Light Princess was born, somebody messed up an invitation to her christening and left out her evil aunt, who was a witch. That evil aunt vented her anger by casting a spell on the Princess that left her immune to gravity. Which was a strange (and often inconvenient ) way for things to be -- more than once the wind caught hold of her while she slept, and you can go the most amazing places on the wind if you have no weight.
Then, when the princess got to be a young woman, she met a young prince and fell in love -- and the results of that love are the very essence of this tale . . . Also included in this volume are "The Giant's Heart," and "The Golden Key.”

I’ve been meaning to read more from George McDonald since I discovered that my own name was derived from one of his books. This is a collection of short stories, the main of which is The Light Princess. I adored the story of the Light Princess, and contrary to my initial assumption of her being a Light (as in the opposite of dark) princess, she is actually Light (as in the opposite of heavy) princess. It was funny and clever and felt like a classic fairy tale in every sense. It’s a story about levity and solemnity as well as the power of sacrifice and love. I’d recommend it to anybody who likes fairy tales. The other two stories included in the version I read were The Giant’s Heart and The Golden Key. The Giant’s heart was strange, but oddly endearing. It’s about two kids who set out on a journey to save themselves and other children from a child-eating giant by trying to find where he hid his heart. The Golden Key was a surreal story. It’s about two children who find themselves, for lack of a better word, in fairy land. Their journey is all to do with a Golden Key and what it unlocks. They encounter wonderful creatures and gods. It felt a bit disjointed, but I feel like I missed something and it makes me want to go back and read it again. It has a depth in the tone of the telling that I’m sure I missed the meaning behind it. This was, overall, a very satisfying read.

I give The Light Princess a 4.5 out of 5
I give The Giant’s Heart a 3.25 out of 5

I give The Golden Key a 3.5 out of 5

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