I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Spelled by Betsy Schow
Published by Sourcebooks, Inc. on June 2nd 2015
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Young Adult
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
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.
I really enjoyed Spelled by Betsy Schow. In the story, a young, sheltered princess named Dorthea becomes a fish out of water after a curse changes the world of Story, and spins it on its head. All of a sudden, Dorthea gets stuck tramping through various fairy tale lands in her silver and ruby heels with a prince who isn’t quite that charming, and one of her disgruntled (former) maids. Having been a shut-in for the majority of her life Dorthea must figure out how to interact with people who refuse to bow and scrape before her, while deciding whether or not she wants to be the hero or villain of this new story she’s become trapped in.
I loved Dorthea, Prince Kato, and snarky Rexi. They were really funny, and it was a hoot watching them try to figure out the solutions to their problems. Dorthea probably grows the most over the course of the story. She moves from sheltered, spoiled princess, to a young woman willing to claim her own destiny from the clutches of the Story Makers. Prince Kato is a stoic young man who starts out needing something vital, then later begins to actually want it. While he is pure of heart throughout, the change in his motives are for the better. Rexi, is just a great, fun character. Her snark could have been off-putting at times if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s well placed. At the beginning, Dorthea deserves the majority of Rexi’s snide comments, so they feel earned and necessary for Dorthea to realize how she’s viewed by others.
“Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing.
In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.”
Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting.
The unique idioms used by the characters would normally have gotten old, but because the story is a fairytale, they work. However, if you aren’t a fan of lots of idioms, slang, or jargon in your reading you may find the dialogue annoying. I, on the other hand, thought Schow’s use of fairy tale swearing added to the fun and unique nature of the story and the world she built.
Do I Recommend?
YES! Loved the uniqueness of the story. I also loved how Schow included many fairy tales, and not just centered the story around Oz. The development of Dorthea and Kato’s relationship was great! None of that pesky love at first sight that I normally encounter in YA novels. Not only that, but Dorthea’s relationships with everyone develops realistically over the course of the story. The villains were recognizable (in a good way), and made the story exciting, and fast-paced. If you’re looking for a book that will keep you laughing from beginning to end, then I definitely think Spelled is what you’re looking for, and will make a great addition to your summer reading.