Review: Bewitching

Bewitching (The Kendra Chronicles) by Alex Flinn
Release Date ~ February 4, 2012
HarperTeen ~ HarperCollins
ISBN13: 9780062024145
ARC received from publisher for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Kendra Hilferty, the witch who curses Kyle Kingsbury in Beastly, tells about her immortal existence-how she discovered she was a witch and the various ways she has used her powers to help people throughout the centuries. (Unfortunately her attempts have often backfired.) As it turns out, Kendra has actually had a hand in "Hansel and Gretel," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid"-but these are not the fairy tales you think you know! Kendra's reminiscences are wrapped around a real-time version of "Cinderella," except the "ugly" stepsister is the good guy. With dark twists, hilarious turns, and unexpected endings, Bewitching is a contemporary read for fairy-tale lovers, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for more Alex Flinn.

I haven't read Beastly, but I think the  movie successfully scared me off for life which is too bad because I love the idea of a Beauty and the Beast retelling. So when I picked this ARC up at a blogger meet-up I decided to give it a chance because after all, I'm a big fan of fairytale retellings. And this one includes THREE of them!

I was hoping for something that really focused in on Kendra as a character, but unfortunately I found out that the book didn't revolve around her as much as I expected it to. Instead it's more about Kendra telling stories that impacted her life, and her (somewhat minor) involvement in them.

  1. Fairytales stick to traditional roots:
    Traditional fairytales aren't always happily ever after stories. And Alex uses four in Bewitching to tell Kendra's story, including The Princess and the Pea, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. All of which are beautiful tales, carefully retold in interesting ways that offer new perspectives on old favourites. I loved the spin on Cinderella (what if Cinderella wasn't as perfect as we all thought?) and I ADORED The Little Mermaid retelling. It was perfectly bittersweet and moving. I think Bewitching is worth reading even just to read that one alone.
  2. Flawed, real characters:
    I easily took a liking to a majority of the characters, and found most of them to be well-developed and multidimensional (Emma and Lisette in particular). And of course, the purpose of this book was to shed some light on Kendra's personality and her history which it does by exploring some times in her life which made a great impact on her, so we really start to see Kendra as something more than a highschool witch.
But as I mentioned at the beginning of my review, there really didn't seem to be much said about Kendra which surprised me for a book that was described as being a book about Kendra. Rather it focused on those she interacted with in her past, with exception to the first story did tell how she came to be a witch in her early years. The ending also felt rather rushed to me, which was surprising considering how long it took to go through the entire book.
However, I will say that the ending had a distinctive fairytale, "happily ever after" flavour which seemed suitable given Alex Flinn's talent in retellings.

You don't need to be a fan of Beastly to read this one, and it works well as a stand alone separate from her other books, but fans of Beastly (and Kendra in particular) will probably have a greater appreciation for Bewitching.

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I did happen to catch the movie Beastly, but well after I read the book. Don't you know the books are always way better than the movies with very few exceptions? Read Beastly, you won't be disappointed with it. So much was left out of the movie.

Thanks for the review of Bewitching. I've wondered exactly what it was about, so it doesn't seem to really be Kendra's story at all, or very, much a small part. But you still think it's worth a read for the Little Mermaid story? I think I'll give it a read, I'm a sucker for a fairy tale or a retelling!


Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

I love the cover of this ..i might ck this one out..great review

Kristina said...

I'm so happy that I read this review! This is the first one that I read on Bewitching. I haven't read Beastly either, so I'm glad that I won't be confused about anything.

Thank you for the review! I'm even more excited for it now. It looks like a very sweet story.

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