Fairy Tale

Review: Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen by J.L. McCreedy

Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen
Image from Sam McCreedy; used by permission

Title: Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen

Author: J.L. McCreedy

Genre: Fairy Tale

This is the story of Liberty “Libby” Frye, a young girl from the American South, who finds herself lured to a foreign land where she falls into the clutches of an evil witch with sinister plans. Libby will need to rely upon her wits and courage, as well as the help of some friends, if she hopes to save not only herself, but also those dearest to her.

I’m pretty sure I had a good reason when I picked this up, but come time to write a review and I can’t remember what made me want to read this.

Libby was okay. I think the main reason I didn’t like her a lot is she was 10. She had a bold, fearless personality that I’m sure I would have loved in a teenager, but I wasn’t so crazy about her as a ten-year-old.

I think the story really should have been about Ginny. She went from shy and timid when Libby met her to brave and courageous at the end of the book. The problem was it almost felt forced, since she didn’t have as much page time as I think she deserved.

The basic idea was a good one (and I’m not going to say too much, since you find out what’s going on along with Libby). But I feel like there really needed to be more. The last quarter Libby starts figuring out what’s going on, and then it’s over. It probably wouldn’t bother an upper-elementary kid, who would just be excited for book 2, but I wanted more detail.

I didn’t love Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen as I thought (or wished) I would. It really had nothing to do with the book – I’m just outgrowing middle grade books. I’m disappointed, because I have loved middle grade since I discovered it. But I think it’s time I left middle grade to its target audience.

I received a free review copy of Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen from the author. Her generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

Report Card

For more on my grading system, please see my About page.

LIBERTY FRYE AND THE WITCHES OF HESSEN scored a 3.8 (A)

Fairy Tale, Fiction, Middle Grade

Review: The Girl and the Seven Thieves by Olivia Snowe

The Girl and the Seven Thieves book cover
Image from Capstone

Title: The Girl and the Seven Thieves (Twice Told Tales)

Author: Olivia Snowe

Genre: Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, Eira had it all: a fancy apartment, a rich father, people to drive her from place to place. And in this retelling of Snow White, Eira also has a stepmother who is wicked as could be. Eira’s stepmother tries to have her killed, but Eira finds seven thieves who are willing to help her…

I’m a fan of fairy tale retellings (or any kind of retelling, really), so when I discovered a new series of modern updated fairy tales, I jumped at it. There didn’t seem to be any sort of order to the series, so I just picked this one up at random.

What do I say about this book? Overall, it was disappointing.

I loved the idea. Eira has a super-mean stepmother who tries to have the chauffeur kill her, but the nice chauffeur lets her go. She runs into seven thieves who decide to help her – and it turns out her stepmother is really the Witch of Manhattan. Sounds absolutely fantastic.

But the execution left a lot to be desired. I can’t even discuss the characters because they weren’t characters – they were names on a page. It worked for minor characters like the chauffeur, but the thieves really needed something more. Especially the one Eira fell in love with.

The story started off strong, with great pacing and a strong setup. And then once Eira met the thieves, it just rushed through everything else. My thought process went something like, “oh, she’s going to stay with them. Hey, she’s cleaning up like in the original story. They said not to…evil chili! She just met him! Wait, it’s over?” If this had just been doubled in length, given a longer middle, a few subplots, and some more character development (especially for the thieves), I would be singing its praises right now.

The Girl and the Seven Thieves was actually really disappointing because the idea was so great. But it was so, so rushed and so many important things were glossed over. I wanted to love this book, and I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t.

Twice Told Tales series:

  • The Girl and the Seven Thieves
  • Cassie and the Wolf
  • The Sealed-Up House
  • A Home in the Sky
  • Hansen and Gracie (releases July 1, 2014)
  • Beauty and the Basement (releases July 1, 2014)
Fairy Tale, Fiction, Middle Grade

Review: Jenny’s 1st Adventure by Anna Staniszewski

 

Jenny's 1st Adventure book cover
Image from Anna Staniszewski

Title: Jenny’s 1st Adventure (My Very UnFairy Tale Life prequel)

Author: Anna Staniszewski

Genre: Fairy Tale

Jenny is an average girl living an average life. But in the middle of an average day, a dwarf shows up to ask her to become a magical adventurer. Find out how Jenny completes her first job as an adventurer in this prequel to the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series.

I forget where I first heard of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series (probably one of the innumerable blogs I follow). But when I saw this for free, I figured what the heck. At least it’ll give me an idea of whether or not I want to read the series.

Or so I thought.

I’m going to start with things Jenny’s First Adventure did right. First of all, like any good prequel this short (33 pages on my Nook), it read a lot like a beginning. It introduced the main characters and enough of the world that I’m pretty sure it’s going to a whole lot crazier than a standard fairy tale world. Plus, it was its own interesting, self-contained adventure that gives me an idea of what kinds of things Jenny will be doing in the actual series. And the whole story had its own fun, crazy brand of uniqueness that I loved.

But things it could have done better…. Believe it or not, there was nothing about book one at the end of Jenny’s First Adventure. Absolutely nothing. Not even a title. And I did not appreciate this, because Jenny was nine in this book. There’s nothing wrong with nine-year-old kids, but I’m seventeen. I don’t really feel like spending an entire novel in the head of an average nine-year-old. Now, it’s very possible that this is a prequel set far before book one – but I wouldn’t know, because there was nothing about book one in this book.

So, did this prequel make me want to read the series? Um…it didn’t not make me want to read it. My excitement level over the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series is exactly the same after reading the prequel as it was before. I’ll still probably read the series if it falls into my hands. I just won’t be going out of my way for it.

My Very UnFairy Tale Life series:
Jenny’s First Adventure
My Very UnFairy Tale Life
My Epic Fairy Tale Fail
My Sort Of Fairy Tale Ending