High above the mountain village of Fracture, trouble is brewing. The sorceress Lady Lamorna wants a skull-studded gown of deep black velvet, but her treasure chest is empty of gold. That doesn’t stop her, however, from kidnapping, blackmailing, and using more than a little magic to get what she needs. Will her plans be foiled by the heroic Gracie Gillypot, two chatty bats, a gallant (if scruffy) prince, the wickedest stepsister ever, a troll with a grudge, and some very ancient crones?
Take a bedraggled, evil sorceress with a dire need for gold and a dimwitted troll for a sidekick, an impish prince with a goody-two-shoes twin brother, a noble-hearted yet na ve young maiden and her conniving stepsister with a chip on her perfectly slim shoulder, throw them into a screwball fairytale, and the result approximates French's (the Tiara Club series) latest. Intersecting plotlines map each of the four major characters' individual journeys over the brambly hill and through the enchanted woods until their fortunes collide for better or for worse at what else? a ball. What follows is as wacky as it is entertaining: as princes galore are zapped into frogs, quirky elements like mazes that change direction and talking bats move the story along. As any fairytale fan knows, there's always a happy ending to look forward to, and this one doesn't disappoint. The elaborate b&w sketches, on the safe side of macabre, add to the fun. Ages 7 9.