Friday, June 8, 2012

Fairy Tale Friday: Storybound (by Marissa Burt)



It is Fairy Tale Friday!  Please visit my co-host Literary Transgressions where you can link up with this weekly round-up. Readers can enter to win this week’s book: Storybound!  Click on the Debut Author Giveaway Hop to find out how. 

Summary of Storybound (by Marissa Burt):
Twelve year old Una feels isolated and alone in the "real" world.  Everything changes when she discovers an extraordinary book in the library that transports her right in the middle of a fairy tale adventure!  She makes friends with Peter, a hero-in-training, and Sam, a talking cat.  They help her fit in the character academy, where each person is trained to be a character in a fairy tale—the hero, the princess, the side kick, the villain, a village girl, and so forth.  For years, the citizens of Story have believed the accounts of the Talekeepers, who keep all the books written by the Muses hidden and forbid any new stories from being recorded.  Unbeknownst to most, the people are being manipulated and oppressed.  As the trio works to discover why Una was brought to Story, many truths are revealed, and they realize there is something much more sinister at work. There are many questions that beg to be answered:  Who wrote Una into the story?  Are the rumors of the once and future king true?  What is the true nature of the Muses?  Who can be trusted?  Will Una’s friends be able to rescue her when she comes face to face with the nefarious women in red?  Una must also face the truth of her past, and the three friends must help defeat the great evil that is working to envelop the land. 

Evaluation:
It did not take me long to become captivated with Storybound.  Author Marissa Burt creates an alternate world, much like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, where students live and are trained in special skills. Characters of Story take classes in Villainy, Backstory, and Outdoor Experimental Questing.  Not only is this a creative take on the fairy tale world, I also like that the classes (and book in general) prompt readers to consider what elements make up a fairy tale and how are they manipulated to make each tale unique. 

The plot was action-oriented, lots of intrigue and suspense.  Peter must work to keep Una’s origin a secret while helping her figure out how she got there and how she is going to get home.  Like Harry Potter, there is a villain along with some cohorts who are working for complete control of the people.  A group of adults are already working in the background to prevent this tyranny from occurring.  The children are in the middle of it, sneaking into forbidden places, looking for clues, keeping their activities secret, and protecting each other. 

One way the people are kept under the thumbs of the Talekeepers is through the suppression of creativity and ideas.  This aspect made me think of Fahrenheit 451.  All the tales from the past are hidden away. No new tales are allowed to be written.  Instead, people are fed propaganda, and anyone who protests disappears.  This problem is escalating because, now, many of the books are being sought after and burned to prevent the truth from ever being revealed. 

Like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there is the notion that a just and benevolent king once ruled Story.  It is believed that he left the Muses and some leaders in charge of his people until his eventual return.  These people have betrayed the king and the people…or at least that is what it seems.  The king’s eventual return gives some of the characters hope. 

Characterization is well-done.  Several of the characters are multi-dimensional.  Snow, Una’s roommate, is the most round.  At first, she comes across as spoiled and demanding.  Then, she acts catty and materialistic when Una moves into her room.  These are all covert ways the young girl uses to cover up the insecure and painful feelings she has about herself and her family.  She acts like she doesn’t care, but she really does.  Both Una and Peter are developing characters.  For instance, Una begins shy, uncertain, and lonely but she develops into a bold, confident, and sociable young girl.  Peter comes across a bit arrogant and inflexible when you first meet him, but he develops into my favorite character.  As he helps Una on her quest, he becomes more flexible and sacrificial.  There are many interesting portraits of supporting characters like teachers, parents, and classmates.

Friendship, loyalty, freedom, family, and bravery are some of the positive motifs. Opportunities for discussion, though, are also prompted about censorship, government propaganda, fairy tale elements, gender roles, and stereotypes. 

Storybound concludes with some riveting revelations, but there is not a complete resolution to the action.  Story’s End is the planned sequel for 2013 which I am looking forward to reading.  I highly recommend Storybound for ages 8 and up.   Enter to win a copy: Debut Author Giveaway Hop.


Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book from the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. 

5 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for reading Storybound! So happy you enjoyed it! M

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  2. Thought I'd visit your blog and check out what you write. Very thorough review of Storybound. I'm intrigued. I love fantasy, and this sounds interesting. I found the archetypal characters an interesting concept -- the princess, the villian, the hero etc. I like the theme of the book and want to know more. I was surprised it was a MG book -- even better. Will have to get a copy.

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  3. Thanks so much for stopping by my Perfect Picture Book Friday post with the review of Indian Two Feet and His Horse...I LOVE your blog...and will be back often!

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  4. Thanks everyone for stopping by. I always love to hear from my readers. :)

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  5. I have been wanting to read Storybound! I love the cover and it sounds amazing. I really enjoyed your review and you made me want to read this one even more! I am happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much and that the characters were well crafted. I plan to enter the giveway! :)

    ~Jess

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