Maven Fairy Godmother: Through The Veil by Charlotte Henley Babb
Cover Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
My Favourite Chapter: Chapter 4 ‘The Test’
Would I recommend? ★★☆☆☆
“Which tree do you remember?”
Maven thought of several- a maple where her dad had made her a swing, the pine seeping yellow rosin like a sticky gem, and the peach tree. Her legs stung in her memory. When Maven disobeyed, her mother would make her cut a new branch from the peach tree in the back yard and switch her with it.”
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Maven’s new dream job–fairy godmother–presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn’t giving her the facts–and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll?
Maven, as the lead protagonist of this book, is a character that is impossible to dislike. She keeps you in the story and you can’t help but root for her during every step of her journey. Maven’s voice feels so real, and she stands for sentiments that any person can appreciate. The strongest point, and a key theme throughout, is the idea of highlighting the disadvantage certain groups of people experience within fairytales. This idea is injected with associations to circumstances that are found in the real world of ‘Mundane.’ Maven fights the corner of disadvantaged, and I can’t help but feel delight when I sense some undertones of feminist sentiments (why should a young girl wish for the love of a Prince, when she can earn herself the full package; career included!)
Whilst the start and end of the story felt perfectly planned and had a great sense of direction; keeping the reader enthralled and eager to carry on, I feel like this was lost a bit during the middle. I found that at times there was a bit too much going on, too many stories and a lot of assuming that the reader knew what certain things were; for example when introducing the names of different locations or people. It was not always immediately clear what these things actually were- meaning a lot of story time was lost due to confusion or not fully following what was happening, especially in a story as fast paced as this.
At times, I felt like this really captured my attention but it was disjointed by other parts that felt like ‘fillers,’ which needn’t have been necessary because there’s a lot of great material included that I would have loved to seen expanded on and have been able to spend more time with.
I would like to point out how brilliant I found the pairing of Maven and Tulip, two incredibly well crafted characters who, whilst incredibly different from each other, complimented each other so perfect. I really enjoyed the dialogue between those two, and the contrast of Maven’s wisdom and Tulip’s innocence and eagerness to learn was a definite highlight for me.
I really struggled to give this a rating, it’s not that I disliked it; quite the opposite- I just struggle to see who the audience for this book could be. I love a fantasy book as much as the next person, it has a nice dash of adult humour in there but not enough to class it as a fairy tale for adults. It felt as though it was torn between trying to include adult content whilst still keeping it clean enough for a younger audience and I’m not too sure how well that worked.
There really were some excellent undertones to this book, and they acted as a strong driving force throughout the book and this kept my attention. It was more these aspects that kept me reading, and less so the fairy tale edge itself. Personally, I would have liked to see more accentuation on these parts and less time floating between different stories. It was packed full of excellent ideas, and I found myself frustrated at times when these weren’t followed through.
* Book was sent for free in exchange for an honest review.