Friday, July 7, 2017

Audiobook Review: Spelled by Betsy Schow

Series:     Storymakers #1
Pub. Date:June 14, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Arielle DeLisle
Length:8 hrs 19 min

Betsy Schow has created a fun and unique world of Story, which is an amalgamation of all our favorite childhood stories and fairytales. Spelled is a very loose retelling of the Wizard of Oz. While some of the characters are the same, the story is totally different and unique, with greater fantasy elements and more modern language and aspects.

Dorothea does not get carried away in a tornado from Kansas, but is instead a princess growing up in the Emerald Tower. Due to a curse on her family, the princesses are not allowed outside of the tower for fear of triggering the beginning of a curse. But when Dorothea makes a careless wish and turns Story upside down, Dorothea must flee the Emerald City in search of a rainbow and spring that may help her reverse the destruction she has wrought. She is accompanied on the journey by a human maid and a shapeshifting price, and all are chased across the land by a wicked gray witch.

My favorite aspects of this book were the world-building and clever word play. I loved Story and all the fantastical characters that were so familiar from my childhood. The different kingdoms, landscapes and characters were unique and fun.

While I thought this was a fun read, it is a bit juvenile. That will not keep me from continuing with the series just to see how the author spins the retellings. But this is definitely a story to pick up when you are looking for something light-hearted, silly, and not-at-all serious. I believe the writing is geared toward young adults, but would probably be okay for advanced mid-grade readers as well. There was a little bit of romance but I don't recall anything beyond a G/PG rating.

The narrator did a good job with character differentiation, conveying personality, and holding my attention.

I recommend this book to young readers who are fans of fantasy and retellings. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Tantor Audio.