Class is back in session at Ever After High! Bump destinies with your favorite fairytale friends and embark on a new spellbinding adventure. Will it be with the reigning Royals, like alpha-queen-to-be Apple White and adventurista Briar Beauty? Or with the restless Rebels, like the wicked cool Raven Queen and the lone wolf Cerise Hood?
Princes, princesses, and wicked queens - oh my! Your happily forever after starts now in this totally legendary third book by best-selling author Shannon Hale!
"Royal good fun." (Kirkus Reviews)
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First half is great, second half drags
The first half of the book was fantastic. It gave great depth to many characters that haven't got much in the show.
It did something amazing by actually making me like Cedar in this book. Normally I can't stand her for various reasons (mostly for how poorly an adaptation of the Pinocchio book she is - it's obvious the makers of Ever After High never read it). But this book actually made her an interesting character by going into how she has no real senses, and must imagine experiencing things like heat, cold, pain, or pleasure. How she was described as an actual puppet, who's face must recarve itself everytime she makes a new expression was very creative. Shannon Hale really went as far as she could with exploring Cedar's feelings - or lack thereof - of what it's actually like being in this puppet form.
Also, though he didn't have that major of a role in the book, I loved any scene with Daring Charming. This book made me realize he's my favorite Ever After boy. He at first appears to be your typical self centered prince character who charms girls and then is a jerk to them - but he's actually legitimately a nice person, who is self absorbed but cares for others also. It's nice to see a tired trope defied.
Probably, because my friend has read the other two books already.
She did a good job with the more "mean" characters' voices, particularly Duchess. Her portrayal of Lizzie was good in that same way, but I felt she made her sound much older than she's supposed to be. She was great with the "nice" characters, like Apple, too.
I loved the first half of the book - so for that, yes. But the second half just draggggged. Shannon Hale is definitely having fun writing all the Wonderlandifulness, but it gets tiring really quick listening to. I'd compare the second half to the aptly named Way Too Wonderland movie. I can only take so much of it.
As an adult fan of series targeted to kids, I might warn parents that the books have a tendency to delve into some darker themes the cartoon shies away from.
- Jenny Mintz