The only sub-genre I look forward to as much as dystopia is fairy-tale retellings. And the premise for this one got me so excited, it ended up as my WoW pick number 7. I really wanted something lighthearted and fun after the heavier books I’ve been reading lately and this charming and hilarious novel proved to be exactly what I needed.
It all begins when mediocre fairy godmother student Chrissy Everstar has to do an extra credit project and is put on the case of 15 year old Savannah who is inconsolable after sister Jane steals her hot prom date Hunter. When Chrissy shows up in a dazzle of bright lights and asks her to name her heart’s desire, Savannah can’t help wishing her life was like a fairytale with a handsome prince at the end. Unfortunately, when your fairy godmother is just a “fair” student, such a vague wish can only mean trouble and Savannah soon finds herself trapped in the Middle Ages, doomed to live out the early, dreary chapters of first Cinderella’s and then Snow White’s story. Her third wish sends classmate Tristan back to the middle ages until he can become a prince, and Savannah is determined to find a way to help him, even if it means going back to eating peas porridge in the pot, nine days old.
I loved Savannah’s character arc and her development from terminally clueless to pretty damn resourceful. Her wry observations on everything from wetsuits vs bikinis to hygiene in the middle ages had my face aching from smiling so much.
I also couldn’t help falling for Tristan. He certainly took his being sent to the Middle Ages in stride. I think it was the following passage that solidified it for me:
“I only kept from starving to death by becoming a jongleur.” He must have seen the blank expression on my face because he added, “That’s a storyteller. I had plenty of stories.” Here he gave me a crooked smile. “And mom always told me that watching TV was a waste of time. I tell you what, the people here are big Battlestar Galactica fans.” (p. 125)
Savannah and Tristan have some exciting adventures involving ogres, a variety of enchantments and scheming royals and Savannah learns that magic and wishes are nothing to be taken lightly. As Chrissy tells her:
“Did you think wishes were like kittens, that all they were going to do was purr and cuddle with you?” She shook her head benevolently. “Those type of wishes have no power. The only wishes that will ever change you are the kind that may, at any moment, eat you whole. But in the end, they are the only wishes that matter.” (p. 234)
Author Janette Rallison’s effortless style and creativity really impressed me and I’m looking forward to reading her other books including the upcoming Just One Wish (March 2009).
This one has earned a place on my keeper shelf. My Fair Godmother is available in hardcover now.