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 not-so-charming 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.
The Storymakers Series:
Spelled (Book 1)
Wanted (Book 2)
Banished (Book 3)
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The first book in the Storymakers series features a sassy fashionista heroine living in a world where fairy tales are real. To free herself from her engagement to frosty Prince Kato, Dorothea—princess of the House Emerald—casts a curse that unintentionally threatens the whole kingdom. That launches Kato and Dorothea on a dangerous quest to find the wizard who can undo the spell. This YA fantasy mixes high adventure with romance and plenty of humor, making for a lightning-quick read.
Princess Dorthea (aka Dot) has grown up confined to the Emerald Palace under the threat of a family curse. Desperate to explore the outside world, Dot makes a na ve wish that upends the storybook kingdoms, allowing the evil Gray Witch to seize power and forcing the princess to flee her home in her magical Hans Christian Louboutin silver and ruby slippers with help from chimera Prince Kato and servant girl Rexi. Schow's (Finished Being Fat) mishmash of fairy-tale settings, characters, and plot devices centers around her odd royal reworking of Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; entitled Dot and her pun-laden narration ("Mother of Grimm!") wear thin quickly. While the chapter titles ("Princess Bridezilla") and epigraphs (" If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.' Gretel from Candy Kills: A True Story") are creative and relevant to each chapter's plot, the story itself which includes Dot dealing with a spell to undo, missing parents, multiple witches and wizards, budding romance, and her transformation into a fire-wielding priestess is overly convoluted. Ages 12 up.
A story that is perfect for readers 12 and up
I’m not a fan of The Wizard of Oz (flying monkeys anyone?) but I do love my mash-up stories and Spelled by Betsy Schow promised to have plenty thrown into the mixing bowl. There are pop culture references (Wrong Direction, Hans Christian Laboutin shoes) as well as influences from Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk and even Frozen, the influences and insets are frequent and often bring a giggle. No flying monkeys from the rather insecure wicked side – no it’s a flock of flying puppies, far easier on the imagination.
Dorthea isn’t a wonderfully sweet or engaging heroine at the start of the story: she is selfish, snotty and over the top spoiled, and as the Princess of Emerald, everyone just allows her to be as horrid as she can be. All hope isn’t lost for her though, she’s given the opportunity to prove herself useful by finding her parents who, with the aid of a spell, were relocated to Kansas. Most of Dorthea’s issues stem from her boredom (she’s not particularly fun to hang out with – so she doesn’t really have friends) and her fears. See – she’s only been minimally trained in self-defense, and there are, contrary to the popular saying, more things to fear than just fear itself: trolls and gigons and dragons and even wicked witches. Yep, plenty to fear.
But, despite all of the pitfalls and only having a reluctant, tell it like it is servant Rexi who frequently injects some reality into Dorothea’s life, and her hand chosen suitor Kato the three move off to find her parents, save the Kingdom’s many ills, and most importantly, how much she really can change to put her kingdom and people first, and lose the shallow, selfish self she had hung on to for so long.
With people and events and puns mixing in frequently, driving the action forward, the characters are not particularly complex, although both Dorthea and Kato do develop an affection as the story progresses, and Dorthea does change for the better. Frequent nods to the “storyteller” give an interesting perspective from the characters, “I’m not bad, I was written this way’ sort of offhanded excuse is offered, giving the sense of a story that dropped from the air into the author’s hands, fully formed. In reality, the storyteller becomes one more element embroiled in the direction of character behavior and personalities, with everyone in the story being aware that he/she exists. A uniquely placed element, it displays yet another perspective on writing a story, while cleverly placing blame for bad acts on some other entity.
Fast paced and frequent puns, pop culture and witty moments, lovely quotes at the start of each chapter and plenty of characters and elements to keep straight, the story moves forward with a laugh, never taking itself too seriously. With an ending that really is open for more, I expect this is the first of at least two books and the lack of a love triangle or even an insta-love trope was refreshing and unique in the world of teen / tween lit. A story that is perfect for readers 12 and up who want a little different sort of tale, it’s a perfect summer read.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I loved this book! The made up curse words are funny and the fact that they know they’re in a story is pretty meta.
There were some parts that I glossed over, like when she was in the tower and lost her memory.
This book was a book that I read and came back to multiple times. I just didn’t WANT to finish it. Then I finally told myself that I needed to read it and finish it. I am normally a fast reader; however, it took me some time to finish this book.