Spelled by Betsy Schow

Prepare to come face to face with favourite fairy tales in this fun, spell-binding read.

Meet Dorthea: spoiled princess extraordinaire, and under house arrest in the Emerald Palace because a curse that may or may not be on her. She has no time for princes or the boring goings on of the palace; she's much more interested in how to get out of the house and into the real world. Though, she's not really sure what that is.

However, her world seems to come caving in around her when she's told she's getting married - and to the grubby prince she had earlier mistaken for a stable boy, and not very politely, either.

In a temper, she makes a wish, and the world Dorthea thought she knew unravels. The laws of magic are all backwards, her parents have disappeared, and Dorthea is running for her life with a surly servant and the stable-boy prince in tow. 

Hitting bookstores June 2nd, Spelled is a must-have for any fairy-tale lovers or Wizard of Oz aficionados. In fact, it is similar to Shrek in its sense of humour and share of touching moments. 

Light-hearted and hopelessly funny, readers run into familiar characters and references constantly, whether it be meeting Beauty from Beauty and the Beast at the ball or comparing quietness to when the Little Mermaid lost her voice. Not only that, but readers will come across ebooks (that's enchanted books), Hans Christian Louboutin slippers, Glenda original gowns and even a Grimm Brothers inspired way of swearing - all worked into Schow's clever patchwork world. 

On top of being cleverly written, the plot is satisfying as well. Told as a grand quest, with a series of twists and turns, rising with the tension and softening for a few tender moments, the story is absorbing. Schow does not fail to keep readers interested, pacing her novel fantastically, never quite rushing, but also not allowing the breather moments to take over. 

The characters of Spelled are wonderful, well-developed and undergo change throughout the course of the novel. Dorthea, of course, being the spoiled brat, seems difficult to like in the beginning, but her plucky attitude and genuine care for others transform her from nightmare princess, to "new favourite character", complete with fully-fleshed motives and personality. Not only that, but her relationships are warm and realistic, paced well so that they do not feel forced or artificial. Moreover, the romance in the novel is addictive, albeit predictable. 

In all, Spelled had me hooked from the first chapter. The humour is worked in smoothly amongst the adventure, the story is well-told and the links to the fairy-tale worlds and Oz are clever. Maybe it's a little predictable and too warm-and-fuzzy for some people, but I would definitely suggest you grab yourself a copy. I'm already impatient for book two. 

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