Book Review: The Storybook of Legends, by Shannon Hale

“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.” (Via Goodreads)

Don’t get me wrong, I love Shannon Hale. Some of my very favorite fantasy/fairy tales include her Princess Academy and The Goose Girl. And I know they’re super young for me, but I think her Princess in Black books are so cute! But with this book, I really wasn’t impressed.

I was a bit leery from the beginning, when I found The Storybook of Legends at the thrift store. Normally I would not choose a book with a cover and blurb like this, but it was by Shannon Hale, so I decided to give it a try. I put off reading it, but finally read it on Saturday, on the way to North Carolina.

It was possibly one of my least favorite fairy tale retellings ever.

The prologue was decent, and piqued my interest ever-so-slightly.

And then came Chapter One, and I was roundly disgusted. There were puns covering every page, screaming to be edited out. I don’t know, maybe some people like this kind of humor, but unfortunately I don’t. Here’s a sampler of the fun little puns you’ll find in the first two chapters. And it gets worse from here.

Tailor Quick (Taylor Swift – ha. ha. ha. Not.)

 MirrorPod (iPod)

 Wicked cool (Is that even a pun? I don’t think so, but I’m including it anyway [And my dad just informed me that real people actually say this. I’m homeschooled. Give me some grace here.])

MirrorPhone (iPhone…)

One Reflection (I almost didn’t get this one, since I’m generally not exposed to a lot of pop culture. But then I remembered all the merchandise I’d seen in stores with One Direction stamped on it, and figured it out. Yay me, the pop culture genius.)

Hext message (Text message. Are you really being serious right now?)

Charm you later (Uhhhh….)

Are you sufficiently sickened? Good. Let me rant for a moment about the overuse of the word “hex”. The last time I checked my dictionary, “hex” meant witchcraft, a spell, or a charm. Guys! That’s not a good thing! Hexcellent? Really? The Bible forbids witchcraft. And yet, this word was used flippantly and punnishly (yes, I just made up that word. If they can do it, I can too.) throughout the entire book.

Another thing that really bothered me was how cool the author tried to make the characters. I’m not sure how to say this, but it felt like really stereotypical high school behavior. (Not that I know much ABOUT high school behavior… I’m homeschooled. So pretty much all my knowledge of stuff like that comes from books and my parents. Which is definitely a good thing.)

Most of the characters annoyed me, especially Apple and her clique of girls. Maddie… Maddie was just weird. And the whole thing with her “hearing” the Narrator? I think it was supposed to be clever…

Raven was all right… ish. She seemed really rebellious to me, even though she was supposed to be one of the “good” ones. I’m not talking about her disobeying her mother’s commands to be mean – it just felt like she had a rebellious attitude throughout.

There was a slight (very very slight) romance which was kind of not needed.

The ending was unresolved, probably because there are two other books after it. Two books that I am not going to read. Because honestly… It was kind of awful.

The initials of Ever After High perfectly sum up my feelings about this book.

EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!

(And here’s a random writerly/nitpicky thing that really bothered me for some reason. She used the phrase “dawning of the dawn.” Was that a typo? *pulls out red marker and begins marking edit suggestions)

The main reason that I didn’t like this book is that it really wasn’t my style. It’s not inappropriate.  So if you like this book (or love it!), don’t be afraid to say so! Friends always differ on some point or another, and a book is a pretty mild thing to disagree on.

My actual rating would be one and a half stars. I’m going by the Goodreads method of rating – one star means I didn’t like it. Two means it was okay. For me it was between those two.

 Hope you enjoyed my review/rant. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below!