FICTION

How To Break an Evil Curse

Black Spot. (Chronicles of Fritillary). Oct. 2020. 386p. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781733599481.
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Gr 7 Up–Cursed by a spell that means certain death if she’s exposed to sunlight, Princess Julianna just wants a piece of freedom from her dingy dungeon. In order to be free from her curse, Julianna must meet and fall in love with a young man of very specific qualities; but as soon as the wizard who cursed her catches wind that such a young man, Warren, exists and is headed for Julianna, he makes it his mission to find and kill Warren. A fractured fairy tale, this novel is fun and modern in its style and prose despite a pseudo-medieval fantasy setting. Full of characters including a soulless twin, a romantic pirate, a sage ghost, and a no-nonsense feminist doctor, this story has something for every reader. Morrison punctuates her prose with charm and humor throughout, sustaining a familiar and rhythmic style accompanied by world-enriching asides in the form of footnotes. Despite its lighthearted tone, the book brings up a number of pressing themes—including an entire subplot involving workers’ unions—for modern readers while carrying a main plot of lively adventure marked by high-stakes risk.
VERDICT Bright and with plenty of dimension, this novel will appeal to fans of Alex Flinn’s Cloaked and would serve as a solid addition to any young adult fantasy collection.

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