Author: Danyelle Leafty
Published October 22nd 2011
Source: E-book received from the author in exchange for an honest review
Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail.
Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all
Based upon a rarely adapted fairytale called ‘The White Cat,’ Danyelle Leafty’s The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell tells the tale of Breena. A princess raised by faeries, Breena is now being given the boot from the place she was raised and given little choice but to find her Happily Ever After.
But Breena (or as her fairy godmother thinks of her, the Damsel in Distress) has no desire for a kingdom, or even a fairy godmother. In an effort to escape this fate, she drinks a potion that winds up turning her into a cat, which only makes finding this ‘DID’ her ‘HEA’ that much harder.
Leafty utilizes not dual, but quadruple perspectives to tell her Catspell story. There’s the fairy godmother, Nerissa, Breena, the aforementioned DID, the prince’s mage (Myles), and a creature that Breena befriended when she lived amongst the fairies. While each perspective has a distinct personality that befits each charming character, some perspectives felt like mere glances into their lives as opposed to full on narratives. It’s difficult to grow attached to any one character because of the switch-off.
Magic is aplenty in the world of Catspell, but with so many different kinds—faeries, mages, enchanted forests, Wishes, dragons—it often seems that magic is just there for magic’s sake. The rules don’t seem defined, new elements and rules coming to light as somewhat contrived plot devices. Obstacles for obstacles’ sake and convenience for convenience’s sake… you get the idea.
Further, Catspell is a Young Adult fantasy, but though the princess Breena is sixteen years old, the novel has a decided bend towards Middle Grade fiction with its young voice and such elements as talking animals dressed as humans. I don’t mind the odd talking cat, but it was a little hard for me to swallow that many of them in a YA novel… much less when they’re admiring gowns, walking around on their hind legs, executing curtsies, and getting princes to fall for them.
I want to be clear: Catspell is adorable, provided it’s what you’re looking for. Upper-level YA, it is not. An unusual MG? Probably.
Overall rating: 3/5. A charming story, but better suited to readers of light Middle Grade fiction.