The celebration of Prince Marco and Prince Marabel’s 13th birthday is a big deal. Moreso for Marco as the Book of Fate says he is the Chosen One. Sometimes Marabel feels like an afterthought. She has to hide that she is taking fencing lessons because her father thinks it is a waste of time. On the day of the party, Marabel see something suspicious during the screening of party guests, but no one takes her seriously.
Just before the clock strikes 13:13 – the moment of Marco’s birth – at the party, Mab, the queen of the Evils of the Desolate Barrens reveals herself and kidnaps Marco.
Marabel is determined to go after her twin, but the king orders her to stay out of the way and locks her in her room. Marabel, her maid and best friend, Ellie, and Floriano the unicorn sneak out of the castle anyway to track down Queen Mab and rescue Marco, no matter what dangers the Barrens hold.
This was a delight from start to finish. I loved that the author acknowledged the usual fairy tale clichés right from the beginning. The tone of the book was fun from page one.
My heart broke for Marabel. She had a great relationship with all her siblings, but she was shunted to the side – or forgotten – over and over again. Her twin had to remind the king it was her birthday, too! None of this made Marabel bitter or mean. She’s a smart, kind and determined girl. All of those qualities helped her on her quest.
This reminded me of the Hero’s Guide series (by Christopher Healy) or the Wide-Awake Princess series (by E.D. Baker) in tone. I adored both of those series. Marabel’s story fits in with them perfectly. If you have fans of either of those series, I think you can had them this book confidently.
There’s plenty of adventure, some magic (but a lot more smarts), and some fantastic creatures (the dragon, Hotshot, is my favorite). There’s a thread of girl-power through the story. I loved that none of it was at the expense of the male leaders. The wrap up was terrific. I’d read more stories with Marabel and her friends!
Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read an electronic copy of Marabel and the Book of Fate for review purposes.