Review Detail

Snarky Fairy Godparents
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Returning the the land of Thyme that was the setting for Rapunzel's adventures in Grounded, we catch up with several of the characters. Prince Dash has been released from his family curse following the death of the witch Envearia. Now, he is not destined to break the heart of the one who loves him like his father and his father before him, but he is also no longer forced to be charming, and has trouble returning to Coterie Prep and figuring out who he really is. We also have Ella Coach, whose mother died working in a sweat shop. Now that her father has married a rich business woman, she is also at the exclusive school, but unwilling to give up her identity as one of the poor. This makes her a target of much meanness on the part of the other girls. The third point of view from which the story is told is Serge's. He is high up in the Glass Slipper godparenting boutique hierarchy, working with Jules and the new intern, Jasper. When Ella and Dash work together on a school project, they try to improve the conditions for working people but meet resistance until a tragedy occurs. Things become even more complicated when Dash's father arranges a marriage for him to get him away from Ella.
Good Points
The world of Thyme is very intricately constructed. The maps at the beginning of the book are an introduction to how these come together-- Disenchanted is in the kingdom of Quintessential and has a lot of fabric and garment construction connections. This is reflected in the names of the characters-- Dimity Gusset, Chemise Shantung, and the Jacquard factory. I was particularly interested in the way that the plight of garment workers in the kingdom mirrored the conditions of similar workers in the US in the early 1900s. The factory incident at the end of the book is reminiscent of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

Dash and Ella have a good relationship, and it's nice that they are portrayed as equals even though he is a prince and she is from a working class background. Dash's father, the king, is deliciously evil, even after the curse is removed, so I was glad that Dash's mother was able to escape.

This is a very dense book, and readers who want to become totally absorbed in a fantasy world will adore it. The content is solidly middle grade, while the feel is a bit more young adult, with the workers' rights issues, the romance, and a few other issues. This makes it a great choice for avid tween readers who have devoured Giwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm, Buckley's Fairy Tale Detectives, and Baker's The Wide Awake Princess. Disenchanted is fairy tale elements with a side of snark that is perfect for older readers who feel compelled to wear Frozen sweatshirts ironically.
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