Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Hero by Alethea Kontis

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.

          Tall, gangly, and the destroyer of Jack's beanstalk, Saturday Woodcutter is as far from the everyday damsel in distress as can be imagined. Add to her virtues stubbornness, occasional rudeness, clumsiness, and a hint of wit that manifests itself mostly in the form of rhymes and she's almost as far from the everyday heroine as well. These differences in her character make for a very direct story -- no moseying along. Saturday wouldn't stand for it. Though I can't say she was one of the more enjoyable heroines I've traveled along with, she certainly provided a change in pace from other fairytale retellings. And that brings us to Peregrine, the love interest, who spends most of the book in the body of a girl. And who has spent most of his life in a cave  (we're talking one hundred years) with only a chimera and an honery demon-witch for company. He has only met a handful of girls in his life time, but he has spent his whole life sketching visions of a particular girl, and when she finally shows up and turns out to be Saturday, understandably he tumbles head over heels with her. Though his devotion is sweet, and I really enjoy the dynamic between him and Saturday, as far as their romance goes, I found it hard to overlook the fact that she is the only girl for decades around and also the only human. This didn't make his love any less real for him however, and when he eventually gets his body back and when there are finally other girls around, has eyes only for Saturday. And it was nice, because at the same time, Saturday decides romance is something worth standing for.
Characters: 3 Stars

          Just as Enchanted, the companion book to Hero, seems to take on a more romance/mystery fairy tale approach, Hero takes on the daring adventure. From the moment she accidentally turns her backyard into an ocean, to the very last page we get to see classic adventure after classic adventure, as Saturday is carried away by a Roc, completes impossible tasks, and bests a witch. The majority of the book, however, she spends under a mountain at the Top of the World with Peregrine. Unfortunately, that part did drag a bit for me, but I can see how it was necessary for the development of Saturday and Peregrine's relationship. Overall, the story was definitely fitting of Saturday as a character.
Plot: 3 Stars

          Alethea Kontis has a style slightly reminiscent of Lloyd Alexander and other Children/YA Fiction writers of the time, where the adventure is met head on and the characters have to dig deep within themselves for the grit to overcome. I love the world of enchantment and stories she has created around the Woodcutter family with this book and earlier with Enchanted, and the sheer number of fairy tales included is incredibly exciting for us fairy tale junkies.Though I wouldn't reread this book, I loved Enchanted and will probably peruse future books.
Style: 3 Stars

Rating: 3 Stars
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy
YA Fiction

It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
     When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.
     The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

1 comment:

  1. I loved both Enchanted and Hero. They have such a fun, timeless feeling to them. Wonderful review!