Opal by Kristina Wojtaszek
This is the story of an owl who is changed into a girl when her mother dies— which seems almost the reverse of your usual fairy tale when the changing happens the other way. In Opal, when the young owlet becomes a girl, she starts to unravel the story of her mother, who was well-known to be as white as snow, as black as ebony, red as . . . Well you know that story right?
While it might have some familiar fairy tale elements, Opal is a very different from any fairy tale I’ve read.
It’s so fun to discover a book, and if you’ll excuse the obvious pun, Opal is truly a hidden gem. I picked this novella up on a whim. A small press followed me on Twitter, so I checked out their books, and downloaded a sample of Opal. And that was it. I was hooked. I think I’ll be like the second person to review this on Amazon. But I’m sure I won’t be the last.
Opal is lyrical, beautiful, and haunting. It’s very original despite being a fairy tale re-take and fabulously well written. My only criticism was that it didn’t feel like it told the whole story. The main character does undergo a massive change in the novel, but she’s not very active in making it come about. Still, the novel is so enchanting, I didn’t mind.
And if Opal is, in fact, just the beginning of a story, I’ll happily pick up the next one by Kristina Wojaszek. She’s a talented new author and one well worth watching.
(Speaking of—warning: when you go to pick up Opal make sure you get the one by the right author. There’s another novel called Opal out there that’s part of a romance series. I have no idea if it is any good.)
Want more fairy tales? You may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a fairy tale bender lately. Here are some of other favorites:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Cathrynne Valente