Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: The 10th Kingdom by Kathryn Wesley

Title:  The 10th Kingdom
Author:  Kathryn Wesley
Genre:  Fantasy/fairytale retelling
Publisher:  Kensington
Pages:  479
Acquired via:  PaperbackSwap


Synopsis (from goodreads):  The novel of the BkyB and Hallmark co-venture 'The 10th Kingdom' is a contemporary drama set in a fantasy world where magic and fairy tale characters come to life. This is an Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups and children alike, a witty and satirical reflection of contemporary society told as an epic tale of good versus evil. Follow the thrilling adventures of Virginia and Tony, a father and daughter from New York, who unwittingly find themselves in a parallel universe known as The Nine Kingdoms. Virginia and Tony join forces with a schizophrenic man-wolf, and Prince, a handsome golden retriever formally known as Prince Wendell, grandson of Snow White until his wicked stepmother turned him into a dog. The unlikely heroes then embark on an epic quest to save Prince from the evil Queen and restore him to the throne.

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I've wanted to read this book ever since I saw the miniseries in college.  It's actually a novelization of the miniseries The 10th Kingdom.  Which I love.  I definitely recommend it.  (You will fall in love with Wolf; you just will.)

Mostly, I wanted to see if the author would expand certain parts or change things or add more details to the book version.  And she did... a little.  But for the most part, the book really is a straight-up copy of the miniseries.  The biggest difference is that the author gave the reader insight into what the different characters were supposedly thinking during all of those situations.  So while the dialogue is almost word-for-word from the show, the characters all get way more depth and development.

It's a fun, mostly fast-paced read, and there are lots of recognizable fairy-tale characters throughout.  But the characters and stories are closer to their original versions - darker and more violent.  There's also plenty of humor and a sweet romance.

My biggest problem with the book though is that the ending is incredibly rushed.  As I was reading, I was really enjoying the details and descriptions, the inner thoughts of the characters, the steady pace of the story, but I got about two-thirds of the way through the book and realized that there was still A LOT of story to be covered and not a lot of pages left.  Which meant that final third of the book crammed a ton of action and events in, while sacrificing all those details & descriptions & character development that had made the beginning so good.

If you haven't seen the miniseries, then you might not love The 10th Kingdom novelization and its crazy, rushed ending.  But if you have seen the show, then you'd probably enjoy the book.

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