Friday, June 5, 2009

Swamp Fairies are people too

Title: Once Upon a Curse
By: E.D. Baker
: Paperback
Pages: 256
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Series #: 3 of 6
Date Started: June 2, 2009
Date Finished: June 2, 2009

Rating: B

Description (from Barnes & Noble): Many years ago a slighted fairy placed a curse on a beautiful young princess--a curse that caused her and all her female descendants to turn into mean, ugly witches if they ever touched a flower after turning sixteen. Now, Princess Emma, who is about to turn sixteen herself, is determined to break the spell once and for all. Emma travels back in time to the day the curse was placed on her ancestor in the hope of preventing the curse from being cast. Unfortunately she isn't successful in her efforts, but she does learn how to break it. Armed with this knowledge, Emma returns to her own time full of hope. But disaster ensues and Emma is about to give up completely--until true love shows itself in the most unexpected place of all.

With a bit of courage, a pinch of luck, and of course, a healthy dose of magic, Princess Emma charms her way through the third hilarious adventure in the Tales of the Frog Princess series.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So I'm kind of torn on this book. I liked it, but I didn't like it as much as the others in the series. For one thing, one of my favorite characters disappointed me. Not Eadric thankfully; he still rocks! And Emma's grandfather was amazing. But Haywood, Grassina's lover, frustrated me. If he truly loved Grassina as much as he had originally professed, then breaking the curse should have been easy. Grassina would have fought an army of trolls for him, but he wasn't even able to face up to one person, even if that person was her. He just gave up; he came across as wavering and helpless. I wish I had read the fifth book before this one, because his meekness wouldn't have been so shocking.

Also, some of the plot devices were extremely obvious and weak. If you transport back in time to see your ancestors and arrive in a different era's clothing, don't you think someone will notice. And then you say you're the child of someone else at the castle, but no one, not even that person, questions it. I think I'd be the first one to speak up if somebody, who looks nothing like me, claimed to be my kid. And last but not least, Princess Hazel and her sister were extremely cliched. The beautiful blonde princess is a complete brat, flirting with all the princes who dote on her, but in the end, it's the less attractive but sweeter sister who wins the day and who has unexpectedly wooed the only really good prince among the bunch.

The ending though was pretty amazing. It was a twist I didn't expect. And the introduction of Eadric's parents was great. You only have to hear his mother's name-- Frazzella-- to get an idea of what kind of M-I-L she'll be to Emma. And of course, the romance between Emma & Eadric was just as sweet as ever, and a surprising new romance bloomed.

Overall, the book could have used some more originality. And I wish Haywood hadn't been such a wuss. But it was still sweet and a stepping stone from to the wedding. B

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