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Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

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When Fiona Thorn, an ornery orphan with an expertise in explosives, sets out to rescue her imprisoned friend, Jaydin Rowan, she wants nothing more than a few sleeping guards and a satchel full of Blast. What she gets is a run-in with three bickering princesses that puts all four girls on the wrong side of a locked dungeon door.

Now, accidentally involved in a plot to assassinate the King and accused of kidnapping the princesses, Fiona must find a way to free them all, save the King, and rescue Jaydin, all while struggling to pay the magical debt that's slowly killing her. Unless the princesses' annoying sibling rivalry kills her first.

Packed with powerful magic, fun-loving fairies and a vicious ogre turned pet, Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a fantasy kids' book sure to become a favorite in middle grade fiction.

206 pages, Paperback

First published September 2, 2012

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About the author

Jen Barton

10 books13 followers
I grew up in Pennsylvania and spent most of my life in the East. In 2007 my family and I moved to California. With two cars my husband and I moved two dogs, two guinea pigs, a cornsnake, and our 10-year-old daughter across the country (whew!). The five-day road trip (including a near escape by both dogs on Day 3) was one of my best (and most interesting) experiences ever. In fact, I'm not sure why that isn't a book yet...

A few years later, after an especially boring day in the car (where the kids and I told stories and built characters instead of griping), I found writing again. Fiona Thorn was born on that day, and I’ve been writing ever since. :)

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5 stars
21 (52%)
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10 (25%)
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5 (12%)
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3 (7%)
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1 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Angie.
1,214 reviews131 followers
November 17, 2012
Even in a kingdom where magical creatures like fairies, cave bodkins and talking sea turtles, who act as life savers, live, someone will plot to assassinate a perfectly good king. While Fiona and her talking horse, Manzy, are trying to rescue her fairy friend, Jayden, from imprisonment in a palace tower, they, together with the three princesses, learn of the assassination plans. Fortunately they have Kevin, the sneezing snake who loves to bat his long eyelashes at everybody, to assist them. When an embittered, spell casting hag and her snow spider friends enter the picture, the would-be assassins are not their only problem.

This comfortably paced, easy to read book is full of adventure, some sadness and a lot of humor. The cleverly crafted, versatile characters endeared themselves to me from the word go. I had to smile when it appeared that Fiona's horse, Manzy, seemed to have more wisdom and sense than her mistress; and is it wise to entrust the magical ability to enlarge or shrink objects to a toddler?

Amidst the suspense and adventure there is also the gentlest touch of youthful romance and a lesson about the negative effect of jealousy, revenge and bitterness.

Although “Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell” is clearly a book for younger children, I am sure that adults will enjoy this highly original story just as much. If you thought the old fashioned fairy tale was dead, this book will convince you otherwise. (Ellen Fritz)
Profile Image for Renee .
408 reviews711 followers
November 16, 2015
My daughter (12) reviewed this book for Mother Daughter Book Reviews. Here is her review:

This book tells the story of Fiona Thorn, ornery orphan who has a penchant for explosives and who goes on a mission to rescue her friend, Jaydin Rowan. But when she runs into three annoying princesses whom she is unable to get rid of, all four of them get locked up in the dungeon. Now, Fiona is accused of kidnapping the princesses because she has a rough past with the king who is in danger of being killed. Now Fiona must find a way to save herself and the constantly bickering princesses, save the king, and finally save her friend Jaydin before the “magical debt” kills her.

The main character is Fiona Thorn who is an orphan who likes explosives, has a talking horse as her best friend, and who just desperately wants to find her imprisoned friend Jaydin before a magical debt kills her. I really liked the part with the princesses because it was funny to listen to them argue and I really liked the youngest princess (Cricket) because she was awesome. I didn’t really understand what was going on at the start of the book but when I got further into the book I started to understand. I learned that it is important to stand by your friends and to always be there for them.

I thought the cover was cool and really eye-catching because it looks really mysterious. However, it could use a little bit more color because everything looked bluish. Overall, I thought this book was really cool and I couldn’t put it down because I kept thinking things like “Why is this happening?” and “What’s going to happen next?”

I think girls and boys 8-12 would like this book. I would give the book 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Erik This Kid Reviews Books.
836 reviews69 followers
August 6, 2014
t wasn’t Jaydin the fairy prince’s fault. He was framed. Fiona Thorn, his best friend, knew that. She was going to break him out – ER rather BLOW him out of jail. After all, she IS an explosive worker. Taught by the Demolitions master McClane, Fiona knows just about everything about explosives. She’ll use that knowledge to bust Jaydin out. Riding her trusty Bright Eye horse (Bright Eyes are extremely smart animals, as in that they can talk to humans), Manzanita Rose (or Manzy, for short), Fiona knows that nothing can stop her. What she didn’t expect was 3 princesses to get in her way. 3 spoiled princesses, at that. Soon Fiona finds herself (and the royal pains) on the run from the King because of a misread letter, which made it seem like Fiona kidnapped the princesses. It doesn’t help that there is a murder plot against the king, his brother, and Jaydin. What will Fiona do?

This was a fun book. I think that Ms. Barton did a great job of creating this fantasy world. I really felt like I was there. I loved the sense of adventure and the fact that Fiona is a demolition expert. The magic in it was pretty cool. I loved the “gifts” that the 4 girls got. Fiona is a great female heroine for this book. I loved that she always kept her cool (despite her being hotheaded) and knew what to do. Manzy is a great supporting character. The book is a good reading level for middle grade readers or young advanced readers. At 201 pages, the book was a quick read for me but the story felt very complete. I would really like to read another book by Ms. Barton.
*NOTE I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Yves Robichaud.
Author 2 books72 followers
February 15, 2013
Book Review
Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell
By Jen Barton
February 15, 2013

Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is American author Jen Barton's first novel. When Fiona's best friend Jaydin is found guilty of a crime he did not commit, the reckless Fiona decides that she must do something about it. As she tries to find a way to rescue her friend, she meets up with a slew of characters, hears of a plot to assassinate the king and gets implicated in the kidnapping of the king's daughters.

This fantasy-adventure targets teenagers and young adults but it can be enjoyed by the whole family. Barton has created a fantasy realm like none other. The story is full of action, magic and unique, well-created characters. The novel has a heroine with a fancy for explosives, three princesses, fairies, ogres, a witch, a magic flute and a bevy of animals that form a huge part of the story. What else could a person ask for?

Readers will be able to relate to the characters. Fiona has an attitude problem, Rhiannon is a tad bossy, Isabel is nurturing yet whiny and Cricket is…well Cricket is Cricket. One of the intriguing parts of the book is that most main characters are female. That's not something you see very often.

Any fan of young adult fantasy should be able to appreciate this impressive debut novel by Jen Barton.

Yves Robichaud
Author of Kaylen’s Rising (Tomes of Taria, Book 1)
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/bO3Z02BALMw
Profile Image for Nephylim Nephylim.
Author 18 books34 followers
January 28, 2013
I found this book purely by accident. I followed the author on Twitter and checked out her site. The description of the book caught my interest. I checked it out, bought it, then couldn't stop reading it until I'd consumed the very last page.

Ms Barton has created a world where fairies and humans live side by side, although not all humans are happy about it. The world and those who inhabit it are unique and very easy to visualise.

This is a children's book but it is very dark and, as such totally appeals to the darkness in me. It is definitely more Brothers Grimm than Disney and i love it for that.

the book is extremely easy to read and totally enthralling. It draws you in from the first word and drags you along on a whole series of adventures that, by the end has Fiona all but dead after failing to pay the price for trying to save her best friend from a terrible conspiracy.

The descriptions of everything from characters, to the settings, to the horrendous attack by the wild cat and Fiona's decline almost to the point of death are clear, detailed, engaging and vivid. I don't think I'm giving anything away in saying 'almost' because with a sequel in the offing (thank the gods)it's pretty much a certainty Fiona survived.

All in all this book is a stunning dark fairytale and well worth a read. It's the best teen book I've read in a long time and, for me, is right up there with Percy Jackson and the likes.
Profile Image for Pop Bop.
2,475 reviews101 followers
October 6, 2016
A Prickly, Engaging, Relatable Fantasy Quest Heroine

We have fairies and a talking horse and bickering princesses and a heroine who likes to blow things up. But this is not a larky la-la sort of fairy tale. Our heroine, Fiona, has a dark side, a troubled back story, and a wild and impatient streak that more often than not leads her into trouble. Her talking horse is the wisest and most mature character in the book. And the bad guys are a lot more scary than they are cutesy.

The upshot for me was that this turned out to be a bit of a surprise, and had a lot more depth, entertainment value, structure and interest than I expected. The characters, plot, and writing style felt very middle grade, (rather than YA), but I mean that in a good way. This book has some oomph, is packed with interesting and well-crafted characters, and includes scenes of real suspense. There is a tiny touch of romance, some broad humor, a bit of witty coomentary from the aforementioned horse, and sometimes a melancholy tone, all of which elevates the book well beyond the usual predictable quest fantasy.

So, if you're looking for a fantasy adventure with a strong and appealing heroine and a solid well-crafted feel, this could be a nice find. (Please note that I found this book a while ago while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. It is currently a kindleunlimited choice. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Profile Image for Gabs .
484 reviews74 followers
October 12, 2014
Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell has great characters as well as a fun and non-cliched plot. I honestly could not put it down!

The book is middle grade/YA, but it isn't too light like some books in this age range are. It's the perfect mix of dark and light fantasy. It's original, too, and I know I've been saying that a lot lately, but this book really is. Not once did I think, 'Hmm, this reminds me of...' Everything had a new twist on it; even the fairies, and that's coming from a girl who went through a HUGE phase with fairies. If I think it's original, it most likely is.

But the characters are the thing that make this book great. They are full of personality, and none of them can be considered Mary Sues. Each has their strengths as well as their flaws. (Bossiness, stubborness, etc.) Fiona was definitely my favorite character, followed by Cricket, followed by that cute little troll! (He's not exactly a main character, but he was simply adorable!) I loved Fiona's feistiness, and Cricket was just adorable. And Fiona's devotion for her friend Jaydin was really touching.

I am so glad I read this book, and I would highly recommend it!
Profile Image for C.K. Webb.
Author 15 books121 followers
January 24, 2013
Fiona Thorn is an orphaned girl with great knowledge of explosives, and she is on a quest to save her good friend, Jaydin. Jaydin is a fairy who is the watcher of Tree and dreams of traveling the world with Fiona. When Jaydin is wrongly put into a prison, Fiona must figure out a way to get him out, without dooming them both. She soon finds herself meeting three princesses and, though she does not wish it, she quickly becomes best friends with the girls and soon they find themselves on a most incredible journey.
These characters were so easy to get to know. The book is easy to read and fun. It was exciting to follow along with the characters and see what follies they would have or make a mess of. The story is adventurous, fun and sometimes funny with wonderful characters and strong friendships that feel like home. I'm not the fantasy, fairytale type, but this was a Good book. Anyone would love to read this. I give 5-spiders easily

T Lane
WebbWeaver Reviews
Profile Image for Sasha Yambor.
2 reviews
February 11, 2015
Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell by: Jen Barton
Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a book about an adventurous girl and the series of adventures that she goes through to save her friend. It is easy to say that the main character, Fiona Thorn, is a complex character with simple morals. She values love, friendship, trust, loyalty, and faith. Fiona Thorn is a prickly character at times but she brings the story to life. Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a mixed tale of real life values and problems with a fairytale twist, including, talking animals, evil villains, fairies, and enchanted forests. Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a book that children of all ages will enjoy but can be specifically catered to the middle school population.
Profile Image for Jan farnworth.
1,308 reviews83 followers
September 17, 2013
Book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This book had a bit of everything in it. I loved how there were talking animals, a new twist on fairies and some new creatures I never heard of -- like Cave Bodkins. It a great middle-grade fantasy that has not only fun, light parts to it, but a bit of darkness as well.

I love the character Fiona who is trying to bravely rescue her fairy friend from the castle, but ends up being saddled with 3 Princesses who are not the best of characters to bring along on a rescue mission. If you love new characters and adventure, this is a great story.
Profile Image for Susan.
220 reviews10 followers
November 1, 2012
Fiona Thorn & the Carapacem Spell is a fun fantasy book for elementary and middle grade readers. Fiona is a stubborn, young girl with some amazing gifts. She sets out to rescue her friend Jayden who was accused of a crime he did not commit, but determines to do things the hard way. She is rude at times and makes many continue reading
Profile Image for Jenifer Jacobs.
915 reviews15 followers
Want to read
April 13, 2014
Bought this one today after meeting the author. Looks great and will be our next read aloud!!
Profile Image for Catherine.
126 reviews50 followers
Want to read
February 11, 2015
I'm not supposed to read middle-grade fiction anymore. But this looks so interesting...
Profile Image for Majanka.
Author 45 books409 followers
January 22, 2013
Fiona Thorn and The Carapacem Spell is the first book in a series based on Fiona Thorn, an orphan girl who likes things that explode and who hates annoying princesses. The series is set in a magical kingdom, with other fantastical creatures such as faeries, cave bodkins, witches and more. The story starts off with Fiona, who’s trying to free her best friend Jayden from prison where he’s locked up after he’s been wrongfully accused of placing a curse on a young boy. Fiona intends to break him out of prison, but no sooner has she come near the castle, or she runs into the three princesses. Each of them manages to annoy Fiona in their own way, and while she’s eager to find her friend, they keep on stalling her. When they finally reach the castle, it becomes clear that there’s a huge plot going on to assassinate the king. Running for their lives, Fiona and the princesses must flee from the castle.

With her mission a big failure and Jayden’s life at stake, Fiona is fresh out of ideas. Her own life force is bleeding out of her after she asked for the Carapacem Spell, a risk she was willing to take if it meant Jayden would be saved. Now she’s being accused of kidnapping those wretched princesses, and Jayden is still locked up in the tower, things look grim for Fiona…

Fiona’s personality was a bit annoying at times. She had a smart mouth, and even though I can forgive quite a bit, it started working on my nerves around halfway through the book. I know middle grades like intelligent protagonists, but teaching them it’s all right to be as smart-mouthed as Fiona is, may be pushing it a bit. Even though Fiona’s attitude may be questionable at times, her heart is clearly at the right spot. She wants to rescue Jayden, and is even willing to risk her life to accomplish that, which I thought was very touching. She’s also quite a stubborn girl, and this adds to her personality.

I wasn’t a big fan of the princesses. They each complained, whined and complained some more. The little one was my favorite, because, thankfully, little Cricket couldn’t talk yet. Thank God, though, because the ones that could were annoying. It’s quite funny though to have such annoying brats tag along with Fiona on her adventures, and I imagine small children would’ve laughed out loud several times where I just grinned during the book. I did like the snake with his impossibly long name, and Manzy the talking horse.

This story has a lot of potential, and for a debut novel, it’s pretty good. I thought the pacing was a bit off though. In the beginning, we’re literally thrown into the story without much introduction, which may not be the best choice for the audience this book is meant for (middle graders). Then there are parts that dragged on, and other parts that were quickly skimmed through, some of these parts pretty interesting and necessary for the story. Apart from the pacing issues though, I had a blast reading this book and I’m confident middle graders would love it as well.

A fantastical adventure for middle graders that can be enjoyed by adults as well.
April 21, 2016
Great read. Fun and easy.

This had a nice story line about friendship, family, love, trust and hate. Toss in some magic and you've got a great read like "Fiona Thorn".
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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