Spelled has worked its magic into the hearts of readers. Author Betsy Schow has written her debut fiction novel in a way like many readers have never seen before. Despite the immature writing at the beginning of the book, Betsy Schow’s writing evolved to quickly make up for the beginning. The dialogue was written as how any teenagers in today’s world would speak, but with some of the lingo of the Emerald City world, where the story takes place, mixed in. The protagonist, Dorothea, had major character development that almost went too quickly. The secondary characters were phenomenally written which kept this book moving and fresh.
The plotline of Spelled has a lot of history before Dorothea’s adventures can begin. Readers learn of a curse that was improperly placed on Emerald City’s princesses and continues throughout the generations. Princess Dorothea cannot go near fire, so she and her mother are both locked in the castle. Neither has seen the outside world until an evil witch comes onto the scene and tears apart the castle. Dorothea, or Dot, ends up getting a special star that makes wishes from this disguised evil witch. When Kato, the prince of a mysterious land, comes onto the scene and talks with Dot’s parents about an arranged marriage, Dot uses the star to create a wish that makes the magic go crazy. Kato ends up getting turned into a chimera, and the evil witch is able to move past the castle’s barriers to begin a war. Many events unfold following the wish that change Dot’s character as well as Kato’s character.
Princess Dorothea is probably the queen of character development in Spelled. When readers are first introduced to Dot she seems to be the most shallow character that has ever been written into existence. She only cares about the clothes she is wearing and the shoes. Everything is about the materials in her castle that she has never left. When all goes down the wormhole, Dot changes like the wind blowing in the trees. Kato, her fianceé, tags along for the adventure along with her maidservant, Rexi. From not caring what another person thought of her, and not having any friends at all, Dot quickly cares to save both of them when in danger and thinks of them as friends until the very end. Betsy Schow knows how to write character development, and make you love a character, like a beast.
Kato is a favorite for secondary characters. When he first appears as a man covered in dirt readers may think he could never be a prince. However, they quickly learn that being a prince is more than the clothes and hygiene they may have. Kato, despite being a chimera for the majority of the book, acts like the prince that he is in the most unlikely of ways. His character also develops though not nearly as much as Dot’s.
The main antagonist of Spelled, Griz the Gray Witch, was not the normal evil witch of fairy tales. She did not spoil her plans by spilling her guts to Dot before trying to kill her. Also, she used to fear to gather up allies, which in fairy tales usually does not happen. Griz was allied with the Mimicman, also known as the Wizard of Oz. Mimicman, it was eluded to, was in love with the first princess of the Emerald City. Could it be the Dorothy? Perhaps readers will find out in the upcoming books.
Overall, readers will enjoy this quirky fairy tale with twists and turns. Advice to future readers: push through the first 50 pages and get to the phenomenal parts. You will be glad you did.