By: Danyelle Leafty
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Disclaimer: Thanks to Danyelle for sending me a complimentary copy, but that of course does not influence my opinion in any way.
Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail.
Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all.
-Summary from Goodreads
With all the fairytale renditions emerging lately, Catspell has one advantage on its side: it's not so much of a dark and sinister retelling as it is a Disney-ish clever and witty story. Oh, that and the princess doesn't want a prince. Alluring, no?
Glamorous with promise, Catspell has its strengths and weaknesses. It's got a non-traditional array of characters and Point of Views--how cool is it to see from the fairy godmother's POV?--but it's also a bit of a task to follow. Though the premise and beginning intrigues and engages, the pacing is nonetheless a bit arduous. The plot, then, is a web of questions and quests that lead to a plethora of wonderful places, but you must pay careful attention and have a keen mind to truly comprehend the immense puzzle that is the ending. It's a bit confusing, to be honest--new vocabulary is introduced, scenes are often not fully oriented, and moments of déjà vu serve to further elongate the distance between the reader and the book.
Though I commenced the review with the few negative aspects of the novel, good things shine through as bright as a summer sky. Breena is a girl who is both strong and self-pitying, and she's quite unusual. I love unusual people, so it's no surprise that though I thought her to be at times aggravating, she still makes me smile. The other characters: Narissa, the fairy godmother; Baldemar, the prince; Myles, the mage who may or may not be a jerk; Natter, the goblin; the dragon... these characters are all delightfully complex. Perhaps not as flaring-to-life real as would be best, but they are definitely authentic and relate-able. Not only that, but Danyelle litters the story with surprises that are key to a great fairytale.
Fairytale stories are hard to write, and often the reader is disappointed: after all, fairytales have glimmered among us for centuries--thousands of years, even--and it's difficult to construct one that pleases many. But Danyelle's prose harmonizes beautifully with the intricate plot and engaging characters that she has set up. Though at times baffling, ultimately The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell offers a great debut and addition to the lighthearted yet full-of-depth side of the fairytale genre.