Jul 18, 12
Read from July 15 to 16, 2012
Fairy tales – you hear/see/experience them a million times in numerous different formats but they still manage to remain so magical and exciting. Every story, however, has an ending and it’s become standard to end a fairy tale not thinking about what happened afterwards to the beloved characters. There’s still a story after the happy end and this is exactly what The Wishing Spell explores – the events following “and they lived happily ever after.”
I have to confess that I adore fairy tales, especially Cinderella. Thus, it’s intriguing to read about diverse visions on what happened next, because fairy tale endings themselves come across so finite. Despite The Wishing Spell having mostly children as their intended target audience, I enjoyed it quite a lot. It had a slow start but once the protagonists arrived in the Land of Stories, the plot took off and didn’t hold back with constant action and an abundance of characters familiar from various fairy tales imaginable. This is also where my biggest complaint comes to surface. While I immensely enjoyed the retelling of the future of all sorts of characters, the story moves too fast for me to really appreciate most of them. The tasks the twins have to complete are gripping the first couple of times, thereafter, they just follow the same pattern over and over. Task, a small or no hindrance, next, task, a small or no hindrance, next, etc. The story jumped from one assignment to another so quickly and each was, on a basic level, completed just as the one before. Thus, a lot of anticipation on what may happen next or what might occur when the kids reach their goal was lost. Still, the ending compensated for the somewhat monotone middle with engrossing revelations that I had not expected. Many possible plot twists that had formed in my mind while reading were quite off the mark
The protagonists Alex and Conner were very likeable but quite a typical heroine and hero of children’s literature. Alex is the intelligent good girl that might act reckless in certain situations and Conner the smarty-pants troublemaker who always comes through when needed in the end.
The Evil Queen, sadly, wasn’t as effective as expected of one of the greatest villains in fairy tails. She came across too human, but I guess that was the point. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and other female characters blended into one similar mass. They weren’t really distinguishable, but again I guess that’s the aim because they were all originally kind, gentle, smart, friendly and sweet.
My favorite characters, however, were Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks. Red was just so awesomely bitchy, moody, simpleminded, self-centered and someone you’d love to hate. She was a genuine comic relief in the book; I loved how she was portrayed. Goldilocks was the complete opposite of Red but on the same level as awesome. A total kick ass, brave and self-sufficient. I would really like to see a book on the continued adventures of Goldilocks or the daily life of Her Bitchyness Red.
Characters were the aspect the story had no issues with at all. How different players were woven to the story, how they were distinguished from their image in the original fairy tales, how everyone had a part to play – I really found the characters the highlight of this book.
It’s a solid debut book with a fun premise and an imaginative take on old and loved characters. I’m quite confident that the next book will hold onto everything successful from the first one and improve where necessary. I will definitely check out the second part of the series.