Saturday, June 21, 2014

Book Review: Hero by Alethea Kontis

Hero (Woodcutter Sisters #2)

Alethea Kontis

Review of Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1)

Publication Date: August 1st 2013

Publisher: Harcourt Books

Pages: 304

Genre:  Fairy Tale, Adventure, Young Adult

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.
Here lies the review of the sequel to the enjoyable Enchanted. And personally, this book showed improvement in Kontis's writing, and stole my heart even more than the first.

This time around we are following Saturday, the second youngest out of the Woodcutter sisters. She is the "non-magical" one, having received only an axe from her fairy godmother as opposed to the amazing things her sisters received. Of course, this has changed since she became indestructible at the end of her younger sister's adventures and it becomes obvious that she has a destiny to fulfill and until then she has to stay intact due to the logic of this world.

This time around it doesn't seem like Kontis focuses on any one fairytale and instead alludes to several while turning a few traditional fairytale tropes on their head. This time around we have a heroine saving a "prince" and it's lovely.

The writing style has shifted to fit Saturday's voice, becoming less dreamy and more practical. This especially shows in the romance in which the book doesn't even try to dress up (despite being insta-love) with drama, emotion and reasons. It presents it as "romance happens this way in fairytales, I guess we'll just go with the flow" and surprisingly this ends up working rather well and being very effective.

Where the last book suffered from Sunday feeling a little less developed, all of the characters in this one are fantastic. Saturday and Peregrine are layered characters (even without their gender-bending scenario to deal with) and all the side characters are memoriable.

I also applaud the fact that this can act as a stand-a-lone book, separate from Enchanted, though it does seem like there will be slightly more direct sequels after this one.

Even if you haven't read Enchanted or didn't feel like you enjoyed it very much, I highly recommend getting your hands on Hero. It's a book that deserves to be read by lovers of the fairytale. I also think that those who are fans of Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest books will enjoy this book as well. If Kontis continues to improve, the next book, Dearest, is going to be phenomenal.



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