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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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ARC Review: Spelled by Betsy Schow (Sophia is not exactly... SPELLED)

Spelled by Betsy Schow

Betsy Schow
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Reviewer: Sophia

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 brooding 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.
Advanced reading copy provided by Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley – thanks!

Pun intended in that post title.

As the crown princess of Emerald who may be cursed to set the world on fire, Dorthea has been locked in the Emerald Palace since she was born and kept away from anything that could potentially catch fire. When she gets a wishing star, she decides to use it, only to have it completely backfire on her.

Spelled is filled with bits of humor throughout, particularly from the side characters who have quickly become my favorite characters. The main character, on the other hand...
But I really, really don't want to.
Dorthea pretty much annoyed me for a good part of the book. She's snotty, stuck-up, spoiled – gosh, I'm turning that into a tongue twister with so many s-words. She's also whiny – Dorthea spends her time whining and complaining for quite literally a quarter of the book before someone snarks at her and tells her to shut up, grow up, and act like a proper princess (she even had the nerve to say no one else had manners – manners? *flips hair* Ha! Nope!) She's funny at some points, but the majority of her sarcasm seemed more like an attempt at sounding funny rather than actually being as funny as Rexi's use of sarcasm and snark.
Bob: No, Priestess. When all his nails are broken, he will die.
Rexi: You can't get a haircut, and he can't get a manicure. Death by salon visit.
I even started wondering if Spelled, as pretty as the cover the book and premise is, would even last. The book isn't strictly a retelling of The Wizard of Oz – there are other fairy tale characters as well. Throwing in other fairy tale characters aren't exactly bothersome in my case, but Schow throws in King Midas and chimeras – both of whom are from Greek mythology, NOT from a fairy tale. Someone please tell me I'm wrong and those two actually appear in a fairy tale, because if they do appear in one, I obviously haven't read enough of the non-gruesome original fairy tales. Or do they actually appear in the gruesome ones? I would love to know.

Spelled could be considered a fun read, if you put aside all of the problems – there's humor, a good premise, and an amazing cast of side characters. But if you don't have the patience to handle a spoiled and stuck-up princess who whines a lot for approximately a quarter of the book, Spelled might not be a book on your radar.

3.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.