Release Date ~ June 2, 2015
ARC received from Raincoast Books for review
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.
Spelled is certainly one of the more innovative fairytale retellings I've read, and it's a quirky read that I think would be particularly enjoyable for younger readers who like fun, fantasy books.
As for me, this was one of my less enjoyable reads lately because of what I personally look for in a story; a more complex plot, and a different sense of humour.
- A creative retelling:
While Spelled has a number of obvious nods to The Wizard of Oz, it doesn't closely follow the story and Betsy Schow relies on her own imagination to create a whole new story. It's a rather loosely inspired retelling, but I think that's something that clearly works in the book's favour since it felt like a completely new story. And interestingly, Spelled also includes references to many other familiar fairytales. The basic setting is a fairytale world where all of our favourite stories co-exist.
And while in some ways this was a fun addition, I wasn't much of a fan of the ways it was incorporated with campy allusions to pop culture; mentions of brands like Hans Christian Louboutin shoes, for example. It's a consistent theme throughout the book, and for those that like these types of jokes, you'll love it. But if you're like me, it detracted from the story since that just isn't my sense of humour and I rolled my eyes at it more often than not.
The main character, Dorthea, definitely felt like a younger character to me as she was rather naive and immature. And that's fine - not all characters need to be grown up and mature! There's a clear sense of strong development as she learns important life lessons in the story. But the risk is that a character like this can also grate on the reader, as Dorthea did for me.
All in all, Spelled was not the right book for me. I think I've just read too many other retellings and tend to prefer the darker, grittier types. And I can see how this would work for many other readers who appreciate this type of storytelling.