Book Review: Spelled by Betsy Schow

June 6, 2018 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Spelled by Betsy Schow

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Spelled by Betsy Schow
Genres: Fairytale
Published by Fire on June 2, 2015
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Author

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First in the Storymakers fairy tale fantasy series and revolving around Princess Dorthea of Emerald.

My Take

This was a fun sort of read that reminded me of Seanan McGuire’s Indexing and Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms.

Schow uses Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz series as the underpinning for the concept and brings in other fairy tale and nursery rhyme memes and characters (including Peter Pan) to round the storyline out. The story is intriguing with all that Schow managed to pull together, and I could still wish for some finesse. It’s quite silly with their quest and those parts that don’t quite hang together, and yet Schow manages a good conclusion that still leaves you hanging with questions.

It was cute with familiar companies and technology — UPS was the United Pegasus Service, the Castle Shopping Network, spellphones, crock pots take the place of cauldrons, etc.

Dorthea’s character arc shows quickly, starting out as a right bitch who thinks she’s better than everyone, i.e., she’s an immature, selfish little snot with the story from her perspective in first person protagonist point-of-view. I hadn’t expected Kato’s arc, and he certainly made a good point. As for Rexi’s snark, oh yeah, she’s always pointing out Dorthea’s idiocy, naïveté, selfishness, lol, it almost makes up for her actions.

It’s easy to see the foreshadowing…after the fact! It makes me wonder what I’m not seeing now. Ah well, Dot does learn several useful lessons in their adventuring…and I’m wondering what more she’ll learn…hmmm, Wonderland?

The Story

Me, me, me… It’s all about me, Princess Dorthea. And when I get a chance to wish, it turns out to be a doozy. One that throws magic out of balance all over our world.

Yep, all the land has to obey the Storymakers’ rules…except, Dot broke the rules, and now all of Story must pay the price.

The Characters

Princess Dorthea Gayle Emerald, a.k.a., Dot or the Emerald Princess (and the Fire Priestess!), has never been outside the castle.

The country of Emerald is…
…ruled by Queen Em and King Henry whose family curse is fire. Verte is the head sorceress and oracle in Emerald, the Emerald Sorceress. Rexi is a kitchen girl caught stealing; she does have a hankering to “pick up” unguarded things. Mortimer is a guard dragon.

Prince Kato is a chimera whose kingdom has a dangerous task. The Frost Queen is his mom. Bobbledandrophous is Kato’s right-hand chimera. Grifflespontus is a traitor. Pufflepotomous the First was the first alpha; Bestiamimickos combined the chimera clans and claimed the title as King of Beasts.

The princes hoping to…
…wed the princess include Hudson, a half-giant; Sterling who has an entire entourage to ensure he always looks fabulous; and, Prince Kato who’s already made the deal. Dorthea and Cinderella have bonded over designer footwear; Rapunzel isn’t half bad.

Hydra, a.k.a., Ozma, has multiple personalities, switching heads depending upon her need. Moony is one of the Bumpkins who live as bumps on a log…until they get annoyed. Hemlock, Queen Bump, is their Maker. The Jitterbug Band are Moony’s cousins and usually work for the Pied Piper. Black Crow is a witch who reminds me of Hansel and Gretel for some reason. BeC is an ABCserpent (I don’t get this one at all). Rainbow Sprite created a rainbow to guard the magic spring he made invisible.

Mick the Magnificent Wizard of Is, a.k.a., the Mimicman, the master of illusions who can take the shape of anyone alive, lives in the Ivory Tower. Nikko is his gorilla majordomo.

Grizelda “Griz” the Gray Witch wants Dot, and it’s not to become friends. Tinman is a gigan and her go-to henchman. Blanc, the White One, is imprisoned to prevent her burning down the world.

The Storymakers are “gods” who make the rules for the world of Story. Makers can bend magic and fate with workshops that appear where they please. Frank is the Maker of Oz — in so many ways… Curse words include Grimm’s name, spelled, glam it all, and pixed-off, to name a few. Ozmosis is a process in which magic runs amuck while life magic is tied to Dot’s hair and Kato’s toenails…eek…no beauty salons for either of them!

The Cover and Title

The cover is rich in deep colors with gleaming high-heeled “slippers” with silvery uppers and glossy red heels and soles resting on a diamond-glittered ground. At the top is an oval carved picture frame with a mother-of-pearl center and a warning spelled out in a combination of script and sans serif. The title is in a three-dimensional gothic in greens with gray and green smoke lazily rising up and wreathing the frame. The author’s name is below the shoes in white.

The title is both curse and explanation, for the Emerald princesses have been Spelled since way back when.

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