Monday, May 23, 2016


If you're interested in Fairy Tale characters finding their happily ever after Jen Catonita's Fairy Tale Reform School might be worth a read. In the first novel, Flunked we learn the fate of Cinderella's evil stepmother. It appears Cinderella's marriage was a wake up call for Flora, Cinderella's stepmother and after reforming herself, she has gathered together other reformed villains and started a school to help young future villian fairy tale characters have a chance to reform.

In the beginning of the story we meet Gilly, the daughter of the woman in the shoe. Her starving siblings have driven her to stealing and after her latest encounter with the law, she is sentenced to Fairy Tale Reform School. I've always been amazed how many boarding schools exist in fantasy literature. While it serves as a practical setting for isolating students from parents and home life, as an American it isn't a common education option for most students. However, despite the fact that most students have never attended boarding school, they still seem to enjoy stories where characters attend one.

I had looked into this series for someone who is a fan of the Ever After High series, but had read everything available from the TV series. This series has some of the charm of alternate stories for the fairy tale characters. While a thief, Gilly proves herself to be a good friend to several of the other students sentenced to the school.

The plan for the story was an interesting one. The school is under threat from a returning villain. The execution could have been a bit stronger. Ironically, I usually see character development sacrificed to plot. In this case, there was some surprisingly good character development and interaction. The plot just needed to be a little tighter to make it work. Perhaps I've been spoiled by some great children's fantasy writers, but it is possible to write creative plots that are strong in execution and ideas.

I'm going to read the next book to see how the story progresses and see if the series grows and if the potential plot lines deliver on the potential.

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