Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Book Review: Spelled

Title: Spelled
Author: Betsy Schow
Genre: YA Retelling
Release Date: June 2015
Source: I borrowed a physical copy from the public library
Purchase from Amazon: Paperback or digital copy

Goodreads summary:

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a
romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after. 

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

My review:

Spelled takes place in Emerald where the new princess, Dorothea, must save her parents and kingdom after she makes a devastating wish to change her life. She must rely on her misfit band of her brooding betrothed Kato and a pushy palace servant named Rexi to find out how to reverse the spell.

Let me start off by saying I did not enjoy this story, but I'm not saying it was bad. It was just not my taste in writing style or characters.

Dorothea comes off very whiny and bratty and nearly every other character says this at least once. While she does start to mature, she doesn't necessarily change, and this bothered me because she had too many annoying flaws to let them all stay as permanent quirks.

I enjoyed Kato and thought he was a very strong character because his sense of duty is what carries him. He was the reason I kept reading the story: I needed to know if he would make it out alive, and between Dorothea's impulsiveness and Rexi's constant sarcasm and rudeness, I wasn't sure he would.

The writing style matched something for a younger audience. The description is short, new characters are introduced in every other chapter, and the plot doesn't stray off its yellow brick sidewalk of the main story line. In fact, all the deep secrets were revealed in the final scene, which meant a lot of tension was lost for the reader to savor. While I wouldn't say this was middle grade by means, think of the voice relating more to a thirteen year old girl than a seventeen year old young woman.

Lastly, the setting is crazy. I thought they were in Oz, but it turns out it was more of a YA version of the TV show Once Upon a Time where all the storybook characters know of each other. It didn't make sense to include all the worlds when none of the other fairy tale characters comes into play.

I know a sequel is planned, but I don't think I'll be picking it up. I just didn't like it. That's not to say other people will feel the same though. And Kato was a saving grace.

Rating: 2 / 5 stars

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