3 out of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book.
Alex Flinn has been really on and off for me. I really loved his first, Beastly, then the next couple were okay, then Cloaked and Towering came along and they were REALLY awful and this one is okay again. I don’t know why his writing is so inconsistent, but it is really annoying not knowing what I am going to get with this author, especially having read so much of his stuff.
This book focuses on the adventures of Kendra, the witch from Beastly who is effectively an immortal teenager who is involved in the lives of all of the classic fairy tale characters.. This is the fourth in the series that gives us some of her adventures, but this one reads like a book of short stories, whereas the other ones have focused on one fairytale retelling.
Because Kendra has been alive so long, the stories are set in varied time periods and geographic locations. Little Red Riding Hood is set during the witch hunts, Rumplestiltskin and East of the Sun and West of the Moon are in Europe in fairly generic time periods and the Ugly Duckling is contemporary. Little Red Riding Hood is definitely the most creative of the bunch. Little Red Riding Hood and Kendra are having to avoid being accused of witchcraft and the wolf is a shapeshifter. The middle two read more like very generic rewrites. The setting and time are close enough to the European origins that Flinn pretty much gave us the original stories with a slight twist on the characters and their motivations. The Ugly Duckling was a little cute, being in modern America, but was very predictable.
Intertwined throughout the story, probably to give it some semblance of structure, is Kendra chasing her love across time and the world. This was really unnecessary. I know something was supposed to tie all 4 stories together, but introducing us to a character briefly in the fist story and then expecting us to care about him when we catch up to him 4 stories later was a bit of a stretch. I barely remembered he was a thing.
This book was a cute little read, but overall it was very generic. Kendra doesn’t have much of a personality and the other characters went by too quickly to get to know at all. Some of the twists on the fairy tales were neat, but overall this wasn’t anything spectacular.