Skip to main content

Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends

A review featuring Bit, age 9.

I didn't want to read The Storybook of Legends. On the one hand, it's by Shannon Hale and I often like her books. On the other, it is a commissioned series to go with a line of dolls produced by Mattel. Ugh. But it was nominated for the Cybils and then Bit found the book in the Scholastic flyer and had to have it. (She misses having a fairy tale series to follow since The Sisters Grimm has ended.) Anyway the book came to our house, we both read it, and had different reactions.

The Story
At Ever After High, an enchanting boarding school, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens...whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End-both for a story and for a life.As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen's destiny is to follow in her mother's wicked footsteps, but evil is so not Raven's style. She's starting to wonder, what if she rewrote her own story? The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future.What if Raven doesn't sign the Storybook of Legends? It could mean a happily never after for them both.

Bit's Thoughts
I really like The Storybook of Legends. I knew from the first page I would love it. I love stories based on fairy tales and I think it's so cute how she combined modern life with fairy tales. My favorite character is Raven. I like Raven because she is smart and sarcastic. I admire her bravery and ability to question what everyone thinks is true. I also like Madeleine Hatter. Maddie is funny and she's Raven's best friend. I really want to read more. 

My Thoughts
I agree with Bit on a couple of her points. Raven is a wonderful heroine. She is brave, smart, questioning, and a bit of a rebel. Her desperate desire to write her own story and not be her mother's daughter combined with the thrill she sort of gets when she realizes the potential of her power make for a nuanced and layered character. Maddie Hatter is a great friend and supporter to have on her side too. She is the kind of friend anyone would want to have on their side. Apple White, the girl Raven is destined to poison, is a perfect foil for Raven. I think we are supposed to consider both of them protagonists, but I just couldn't do that. Apple works as a foil, highlighting Raven's different personality traits and filling in her character. She doesn't stand on her own as much of a character yet. The story Hale tells here is, at its heart, a good one. I love the themes of questioning tradition, self-discovery, independent thought, and courage that play out in the course of the plot. 

My main problem with the book was how formulaic it was. How it clearly was set up to sell a product. The inner workings of the world building here make little sense if examined too closely. All these characters kids are almost the exact same age or close to it. And shouldn't there be quite a lot of incest and marrying of cousins happening amongst the Royal set since they keep reliving their parents stories? Yet few of the princes and princesses are actually related. Where are these people coming from? Another thing that bothered me, as much as it enchanted Bit, were the working in of modern pop culture. The kids have "mirror pods" and listen to "Tailor Quick" and "One Reflection" singing "You Don't Know Your Charming". (My eyes almost got stuck in my head I rolled them so hard.) It also overuses cutesy phrases. Text becomes Hext in every usage. "I'll  hext you later!" "I lost my hextbook." 

Given what this is, it is done as well as it could be I think. I asked Bit if she wanted to participate in this review to highlight how the target audience is eating it up. Most of the girls on Bit's swim team discovered this over their fall break and everyone was talking about it at practice when they returned, delighted that they had found it and that their friends had read it too. (These girls range in age from 9 to 12. Target demographic achieved.) I would have loved this as a kid too I think, and it will certainly be a thing. I truly hope that reading this series will push girls to read Hale's other books too, which have the same strong heroines and amazing themes but with fewer plastic sparkle components. 


Brenda said…
Thanks for the shared review, it was nice to see the different perspectives.
Brandy said…
I thought it would be a good idea to show both sides on this one.
Liviania said…
Definitely a good one for both sides.

(But I'll admit to finding "hextbook" hilarious.)
Brandy said…
I think it would have been funnier to me on its own. Combine with all the other hexting it just drove me nuts. That definitely was its best usage. :)

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

From Most Recent to Least:

What books have recently caught your eye?

Future Favorite Friday: June 2018

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments.

Two Naomis was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I was understandably excited it's getting a sequel. 

In this sequel to Two Naomis, now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges.

Trusting her gut has worked for Naomi E. all her life, and she figures that it will be an asset to her role as a Peer Mediator—until she realizes how much of the job requires the Art of Compromise, which she’s only just starting to get used to at home.

Naomi Marie is excited about maki…

Lovely War

When I first heard about Lovely War by Julie Berry, I remember thinking, "Whoa, that's ambitious." And it is. The scope and depth of this story with all of its intricacies and thematic elements is massive. Berry manages to hold it all together beautifully. She managed it so beautifully that it is so far my favorite YA read of 2019.

The ecstasies and the wounds of love were Aphrodite's work. Forging passions was what she was born to do. She, too, was a welder, a mistress of fire of a different sort, working in materials more powerful and resistant than carbon and iron. And what did that toil do to her?

In 1942 New York City while men are partying on the eve of shipping off to war, a stunning couple arrives at a hotel in the midst of the revelry and departs for their room followed by an overly enthusiastic bellboy. But none of these figures are as they appear. The couple is Aphrodite and Ares on a secret assignation that turns out to be not so secret as the bellboy is Ap…

TTT: Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This Week's Topic: Auto-Buy Authors

Here are my auto-buy authors and their most recent or coming soon release. Also, I got stuck on twelve and couldn't cut it down any further. So it's really Top Twelve Tuesday today. Or Thirteen rather as I sort of combined Emma and Genevieve. (I auto-buy all their individual projects too.)

Who are some authors whose books you buy no matter what?

(I don't know what it says about me that there is only one male author on this list, but I don't dislike whatever it is.)

2019 Favorites So Far...

Who can believe we are halfway through 2019 already??? It's certainly hard for me. (Also, where did my summer go?) are my favorite reads of the year this year so far. I'm featuring my 10 Favorites overall and then 5 from each age category I read. It will be interesting to see which of these will make it all the way to the December 31 list!

Top 10 So Far:

 Top 5 MG:

Top 5 YA:

Top 5 Adult: