Publisher's Note:  

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.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Sourcebooks Fire


by Betsy Schow

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Overall Review:  

You're in for one spell of a ride with Besty Schow's YA debut novel Spelled. Arranged to be the first book in the Storymakers series, Schow wittily brews up comedy, romance, and fantasy at an action and adventure pace that will leave your head spinning.

Told through first person point of view, Princess Dorthea of Emerald, lays waste to more than just her enchanted kingdom after an ill-fated wish mimics a curse. Her high and mighty attitude may unnerve some readers who are desiring more than just their princes to be charming. At times her spoiled rotten ways hinder reader/character connection, causing disinterest in the character's well-being. Don't sever the relationship all together, and keep on keeping on, because the spark does ignite a little more than half-way through the book, flaring up some intrigue for this girl on fire, watch your back Katniss.

Girl of Emerald, no man can tame. Burn down the world, consumed by flames.”

While our Dot may be a bit of a hot head, her counterpart Prince Kato is frosty.

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.”

Finally, here is a YA book without the insta-love flavor that all the authors seem to be using these days. The development of friendship and love is just one of the many journeys readers will be going on with this dynamic duo.

 “That's the thing about love: the best kind isn't instant, and you often get roughed up a bit on the way.”

As stated, the author is witty, and for some it may be overkill. With pop culture references spun into magical realms, and an opulence of puns, it may not be to every reader's liking. Even though this is a re-telling, that doesn't mean that Schow doesn't throw in her own originality in the mix. With a back story that is completely of her own making, Schow shows she knows how write her own lit.

Courage, brains, heart, and a rockn' pair of shoes, Spelled, will hopefully enchant boys and girls alike.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  4 offensive hand gestures. Note: The word hell is mentioned 2x as a place and not in a derogatory fashion. Words such as spelled, pixed, and Grimm etc. are used as swear words. These are not tallied. Character is described to have a colorful vocabulary.

Violence/Gore:  Character asks another character to slay a fantasy creature; character boasts that at an early age he/she killed a fantasy creature; character stomps on character's foot; character accidentally cuts him/herself (2x); character tries attacking another character (comical 2x); funny extended scene (about ½ page) chaos ensues with property destruction, and characters attacking one another; character threatens to kill another character; character uses magic to try and hurt another character; magic causes property destruction; character comically threatens to throw another character out the window; character is hit on the head; character elbows another character; idle threat (2x); exchange of threats; implication that a magical battle is taking place; extended comical scene (about ¼ page) character is attacked by fantasy creatures; characters witness a creature eating another creature; fantasy creature briefly fights off another fantasy creature; extended scene (about 2 pages) character uses magic blasts to try and harm other characters, acidic secretion from fantasy creatures causes characters' minor injuries; verbal threat; decapitated head talks, headless body appears; character sees jars of decapitated heads on shelves (creepy); extended scene (about 1 paragraph) character fights off perceived attacker; mention of assassin; extended scene (about 1 page) characters physically fight one another; character hits another character (comical); character tries to fight off another character by whacking them with a shoe (comical); extended scene (about 1 page) character witnesses other characters being hurt by magical attackers causing minor injuries; characters comically hit one another a few times throughout novel; character fears another character may be hurt or dead; extended scene (about 1 page) characters heads collide causing minor injury to both characters, character straddles another character threatening harm; extended scene (about ¼ page) character tries attacking another character, character is hit on the head with objects, character is set on fire; character lashes out hurting another character with magic; fantasy creature destroys property with the probability that a character is still inside and swings ax at characters; character tries to fend off an attacker by hitting them; threat; brief report of violence; secondhand report of death by curse (2x); extended scene (about 1 page) secondhand report of death, destruction, and killing; character is asked to kill another character; secondhand report of attack (2x); threat (2x); character throws objects aiming to hit other characters (comical); character uses magic to burn fantasy creature; extended scene (about 1 page) character has a creepy nightmare; character uses magic storm balls to try and hurt other characters; character accidentally runs into wall; characters topple into one another; verbal threat; extended scene (about 2 pages) character uses magic to cause destruction with intent to hurt others; character uses magic injuring another character; character recounts being chained and held against his/her will; verbal threat (4x); small cut produces blood; threat (4x); character tackles another character playfully; character is kicked in shins, drops object on head; fantasy creature is struck dead by magic; character bites another character; character is hit with magic; magical liquid causes character pain; character uses magic to burn fantasy creatures; blood and injuries on fantasy creature implies a fight took place; extended scene (about 1 paragraph) character witnesses fantasy creatures fighting one another; threat; character considers using magic to kill other characters; character is hit with magic and appears dead; character is told to hurt another character; character throws an object at another character; character cuts his/herself to produce blood; character melts; verbal threat.

Sex/Nudity:  Female falls into male's arms, he will not let go; declaration that character looks like the love child of two creatures; character mentions female's underwear; fantasy creature moons characters; character jokes about virgins; hand holding; kiss (2x); character puts their arm around another character; mention of kiss; sexual reference; mention of male genitalia on animal; declaration of love; male is nude, females try to get a peek; kiss on head; kiss; sexual references (3x); caress face; hand squeeze (2x); embrace; kiss (3x); embrace and kiss.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Death, killing.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Character implies that the punch at the party may have more than punch in it; mention of champagne; drug induced sleep (few times); fantasy creature is said to be smoking a hookah.

Reviewed By MaryLou
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