Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: A Wonderlandiful World

At Ever After High, everyone is expected to sign the Storybook of Legends, pledging to follow in their fairytale parent's footsteps. But when Raven Queen came along, things became fairy, fairy confusing. Now no one's destiny is certain, not even for the most royal of them all, Apple White.When a mysterious being from Wonderland begins to infect Ever After High with a strange magic, everything goes topsy-turvy. The students transform into animals and objects, palace mice talk, and the beautiful green grounds on campus fade to black-and-white. Lizzie Hearts, Wonderland's future queen, Cedar Wood, daughter of Pinocchio, and Madeline Hatter, heir to the Mad Hatter's Hat and Tea Shoppe, seem to be the only ones who haven't completely lost their heads. It's up to them to save their best friends forever after from a curse that threatens to give their school-and their lives-a very unhappy ending.   Quoted from Goodreads


Welcome to Middle Grade book day!  Sometimes I just love reading middle grade books.  The emphasis is different: more adventure, less romance, shorter, less blood, that sort of thing. This isn't to say that middle grade doesn't deal with hard, complex topics, but it's a different feel from books for older audiences and can be a refreshing change.  

This book is absolutely delightful.  Yep, that's the word I think of when I describe Shannon Hale's (so far, anyway) Ever After High series.  The books are fun, with quirky characters and tons of fairy tale references.  This time around, we get new characters.  It's not that we haven't seen Cedar Wood and Lizzie Hearts before, but this is the first time they take center stage.  I loved seeing the world through heir eyes.  It's so different from Raven and Apple.  Plus, we get to know a lot more about wonderland and how other people feel about their destinies. 

Because of the all the wonderland-like madness, this book is even more quirky that the previous two.  Personally, I really enjoyed it---especially the whole narrator twist, which I found really cleaver and fun---but I can see how it could frustrate some people. Plus, things happen with memories that really annoyed me. Still it expands the world perfectly and is a delightfully zany adventure.

My only complaint is that Shannon Hale isn't writing any more of these books.  I realize this is a TV show and there's a toy line so they don't want to end the conflict. I'm guessing there will now be other books in the series by different authors that will continue the story, but to be honest, I'm not sure if I'll read them. I picked up these because I love Shannon Hale and basically anything she writes.  However, I'm not convinced I'll continue with a series with no end in sight by dozens of authors I don't know.  That's just not where I personally am as a reader.  It's great for kids (clearly the target audience). I read tons of books like that when I was a kid. It's just not what I'm looking for now, so I'm sad book three was just another adventure instead of wrapping up the Raven/Apple conflict introduced in the first two books.

Still, if you're looking for a fun, delightful adventure, you really should check this out.  The writing is excellent, the world is inventive, and the characters fun and sympathetic. I'm giving it a lovely 3.5 stars.  It's a great story and absolutely worth checking out, especially if you like the first two.

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