The Journey Begins
by Jill Williamson
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Pub Date 23 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 24 Sep 2022
Hunter, the son of the huntsman who nearly killed Snow White, is tired of the shame that labels his family. Tricked into making a wish upon a magic mirror, he accidentally unleashes a curse that banishes magic from the Story Realms.
In order to right this wrong, Hunter sets out to find a wizard who might be able to help. Along the way he meets Izzy, a girl with no memory. Together, the pair embark upon an epic quest to restore the magic—and memories—that have been lost. Do Hunter and Izzy have what it takes to bring magic back to the Story Realms? Or is magic is lost forever?
Average rating from 8 members
Ok... So imagine that you took a Grimm's fairy tale collection and smash it together with Hans Anderson.... But then let Disney produce the resulting book.
My teen and I buddy read this one and both loved it. The way each different fairy tale lore played into and off of the others was very nice and I feel like this book would go perfectly on the bookshelf of anyone who finds themselves partial to Teen/YA fiction, especially if you like retellings.
5 stars ⭐
I will admit, that reading middle-grade books is one of my guilty pleasures and I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Brad, Jill's husband, has woven this amazing world of people from our beloved fairy tales and nursery rhymes, The extra input by the writer to these typical stories made me go "WHAT?!" but loved it nonetheless.
We follow Hunter, son of the Huntsman from Snow White's tale on his quest to bring back magic to the Story Realms. He was tricked into bringing about the curse of the loss of magic by an unknown minstrel who promised that he would be able to clear his father's name if he was to do what he was told. Alas, not all came to be.what was hoped.
The Pacing vs Plot: The story was fast-paced, moving through places and realms quickly and it was just the right speed. The plot moved smoothly, with no hiccups or confusion.
Characters and the Story: Now as for the characters, Hunter is my baby boy istg. He was extremely loveable and not without flaws. He was gentle, and kind, but also gullible and too eager to rush into things. Izzy is another character we come upon, who has lost her memory. She is a little quirky and smart little bean we would all adore so much. Her positive outlook, despite her amnesia, looked more funny than insightful to me, in my opinion. The interaction between these two characters made me go: sERIOUSLY??? ARE YOU LITTLE CHILDREN??! WHY ARE YOU SHY?? WHO CARES ABOUT E T T TI Q U E T T E S at some points until I realised that I was even worse when I was their age (*facepalm*).
In conclusion, if I had read this when I was 12, I think I would have been obsessed with it for weeks.
Although WHY END ON A CLIFFHANGER JILL AND BRAD??! KIDS CANNOT BEAR SUCH A PAIN, EVEN ADULTS CANNOT!
The story focuses on Hunter, the woodsman’s son from the Snow White story. He makes an ill-advised deal with a traveling minstrel that results in the elimination of all magic in the kingdom. Magical objects are sucked up into a giant, red cloud in the sky, and characters with any connection to magic now find they have selective amnesia. Some can’t remember their own names. Where can Hunter find help? Wizards and fairies lose their magic from the inadvertent spell, so searching for them will be useless. He ends up traveling throughout the realm in search of elusive answers. The conspiracy to eliminate magic may be larger than readers expect.
This book is a spin-off from the story of Snow White, and other fairy tales and stories are referenced too. The characters range from Robin Hood to Merlin to Mother Goose. The magic mirror is the starting point for the devastating spell, although it may not be the magic mirror from Snow White’s story. Hunter’s cousins are sheepherders named Bo and Mary, and several queens are former fairy tale characters. These details add a bit of familiarity to make connections with characters and events easier to follow. The author keeps some of the information vague allowing the story to remain fresh and different. Hunter’s main companion is Izzy and it’s unclear which fairy tale she comes from. She’s lost her memory but her clothes tell Hunter she’s probably from royalty. Her positive outlook in most situations is a refreshing attitude as the pair encounter new obstacles and challenges.
I normally prefer to have a clear conflict, antagonist, and goal in mind, but the author keeps these vague. The loss of magic is the obvious issue but why it happens is unknown. Who was the character trapped in the mirror and who was the minstrel setting things in motion? Why have they conspired to eliminate magic in the kingdom and what might be their motive for doing it? Hunter and Izzy discover missing objects and memories as they travel, but they don’t know if there are unseen consequences from the purge of magic. Readers will slowly learn the truth right along with Hunter and Izzy.
What didn’t work as well:
The first half of the book seems to find the plot mired in a rut. It feels as though Hunter is making progress only to find he’s on the wrong track. One step forward then one step to the side. It takes the plot a while to finally gain traction, but finding a crooked old man in the middle of the forest, who might or might not be trustworthy, gets things moving forward.
The Final Verdict:
Help comes from unexpected sources. The most entertaining aspect of the book is the wide range of fairy tale, nursery rhyme, and literary characters making appearances along the way. Izzy’s kindness and positivity are other highlights. This book is the first step in a series-long adventure and I recommend you give it a shot.
A very cute and fun melting pot of a bunch of different fairytales and fairytales variations meshed together in a totally adorable middle grade story. I’m excited for more though … that cliffhanger !!!