June 2, 2015
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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 [spoilery-mouseover to read] 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.
I like to imagine that if you took The Truman Show, Thursday Next and The Wizard of Oz, put them in one of those pet tornado/tornado in a jar things, you would have Spelled.
As the princess of Emerald, Dorthea has loving parents, all the shoes a girl could want, one of a kind ball gowns an unlimited shopping budget and a palace full of servants. It should be all Dorothea could want or need . . . Except that thanks to the curse also affecting her as princess of Emerald, Dorothea cannot leave the palace and is looking at an arranged marriage.
It's her desire to get away from that restricting future, her wish, that runs everything upside down. Suddenly the rules don't seem to apply and it's up to Dorothea (and her fiance) to right things.
I love the idea of combining The Wizard of Oz and the Grimm fairy tales (with maybe a dose of Disney influence). Dorthea knows they're living in Story, in the tales and it makes for an interesting perspective.
She is not a very likable character in the beginning, but that's pretty necessary. After her confining upbringing, the curse and what her future holds, it makes sense for Dorthea to act as she does. Kato is more likable, but it takes quite a while to get to know him.
Rexi was my favorite character of the story. She wasn't putting up with Dorthea's I-am-the-princess-you-will-bow-before-me attitude, especially while they were (together) running for their lives. Her character was fresh, had some good insight, was definitely funny and a great addition to the story. Without her I don't think I could have handled how Dorothea acted at the start. I am really hoping we get to learn more about her and her past in the sequel.
The ways that the fairy tales, The Wizard of Oz, and things from the real world were combined to make up Dorthea's world of Story was very creative. I liked that the parallels between Dorthea's quest and Dorothy's hunt for the Wizard of Oz were not very literal. It was easier to see with some (Kato/Toto), but others had the roles, names and/or appearances altered.
It kept the story from being predictable and was almost always surprising when another character appeared or another connection was made.
While I liked the way the author played with names/places/brands to fit them into Story, sometimes it was just a little too cutesy, almost distracting. When the story focused on the characters, their goals and their relationships I thought it worked best.
The ending was well done and I like where it leaves the characters and the story; it does a nice job of wrapping things up but also acting as a great lead-in to a sequel.
thank you to the publisher for my egalley to review, via NetGalley