by Laura May
Kindle Edition, 263 pg.
Kindle Direct Publishing, 2014
Read: November 1 – 3, 2014
Everybody knows that good princesses are always pretty, just like wicked step-mothers are always ugly and covered in warts: and Melodia was no exception to this rule. By this time she was nearly nineteen, and she was tall and healthy, with rather a wistful look to her. You probably want to know her hair colour as well, because you’ve heard how that impacts upon personality. Scientists all over Raduga (with the word ‘scientist’ being used somewhat loosely) have conducted several studies into the effects of hair colour. They’ve found that while it seems to matter very little for the princes of the realm, for princesses it’s quite the opposite. Blonde hair indicates beauty and fragility, while brunettes are supposedly street-smart and intelligent. Of course, these studies were all funded by the Prince of Hairdressers, who was allegedly running a hair dye cartel…
If Douglas Adams were to write a fairy-tale style story for a YA audience, it’d sound a lot like this. Which is at once the strength and the weakness of the book. Once you start with this voice, you’re stuck with it — it’s a commitment you have to follow through with. May does a fine job of that. But, unlike Adams, she sometimes lets her voice, her storytelling style, get in the way of the story.
But, while occasionally distracting and annoying, it’s not fatal. And if you read this in smaller chunks — I read it in two sittings — you might not even notice (at least not as much as I did).
This is a cute YA take on fairy tales, a tale of magic, friendship, and a search for true love in a land where everyone is a prince or a princess (if they’re not a King or a Queen). There’s really not much else to say. She’s not giving us fractured Snow White or Cinderella, etc. May’s working from a blank canvas — what’s happening in the castle to the right of Prince Charming’s.
Again, like Adams, I’m not entirely convinced that May’s world is really that coherent — but it doesn’t matter, the world she’s put this in is just a place for her to tell jokes and have silly things happen. Like this:
By the time nine months on the island had passed, Melodia was bored out of her wits and sorely lacking in company. She tried talking to rocks, but they were stoney in their silence. She tried talking to the moss, but it just wasn’t a fun guy. The trees asked her to leaf them alone, and eventually the princess was reduced to talking to her own reflection in the lake.
I laughed, I chuckled, I groaned, I was charmed — and I was entertained. What more could you want?
The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of this book, providing me relief from the murder and mayhem I’ve found myself reading this year.