Reviews for Unlocking the Spell : A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Annie (The Wide-Awake Princess) journeys to find the dwarf who turned her sister (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) Gwendolyn's true love into a bear. Annie and company encounter other fairy-tale characters on their quest, and everyone unsurprisingly converges. Practical and resourceful Annie carries the story, but the overwhelming number of characters and single-pointed plot get in her way a bit this time.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
Annie has been home less than a week after finding a prince to wake up sister Gwennie, aka Sleeping Beauty (The Wide-Awake Princess, 2010), when her father demands she undertake another quest: seek the dwarf who turned Gwennie's beloved Prince Beldegard into a bear and convince him to undo the spell. Annie's conflicted response--gratitude that her newly awakened family no longer shuns her for her gift for repelling magic; resentment that they are so quick to send her away--is quickly sketched, especially in relation to Gwennie. Annie agrees to go after stipulating that Gwennie wait at home while she and her sweetheart Liam, led by Beldegard, make the trip. Surprisingly, Gwennie runs away from the castle to join their journey across many lands and through several fairy tales. As before, readers will delight in the twists the author makes to the familiar tales, seamlessly weaving them into the plot, from "Snow White and Rose Red" to "The Three Little Pigs" and more, but despite the often-comical interactions, there is not much action. The hunt eventually leads the foursome to Snow White's home with the dwarves (who knew an eighth dwarf had gone bad?). Nor does the stream of sometimes-petulant bickering provide insight into the characters, leaving the sisters' relationship unplumbed and making the romantic resolutions feel shallow. The hint of a future romance between Snow White and Maitland, Beldegard's formerly fratricidal brother, is particularly disturbing. Recommend only to those set on an undemanding jaunt through retold fairy tales. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 February

Gr 4-7--Only a week has passed since Annie found the prince to break the curse affecting her sister, Gwendolyn (aka Sleeping Beauty,) in The Wide-Awake Princess (Bloomsbury, 2010). Unfortunately, said prince is himself enchanted and remains stuck in the form of a bear, and Gwennie desperately wants her sister's help changing her true love back to a human. Annie agrees, setting off with the bear prince and Liam, her princely companion from her first quest, to find the dwarf who cast the curse. Gwendolyn sneaks away and joins them, much to Annie's annoyance, and the four travel through the neighboring kingdoms in pursuit of the errant dwarf. As with the first title, readers will enjoy spotting the familiar fairy-tale characters Annie and company meet along the way. More self-assured after her success in breaking her sister's curse, she continues to be a take-charge princess who uses her wits and magic-neutralizing abilities to solve problems. Her character and the way various fairy tales are woven into the narrative are the strengths of the novel, though it's not without its flaws. There are missed opportunities to develop the relationship between Annie and Gwendolyn, and Annie and Liam's romance fizzles disappointingly. However, this will likely satisfy fans of the first book and appeal to readers who enjoy lighthearted retellings of fairy tales.--Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL

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