Friday, 29 January 2016

Book Review: Letters to Zell by Camille Griep

Read: January 26-28    Verdict: 3.75 Stars

Rapunzel has upped and left Grimmland with her husband and kids to help run a unicorn sanctuary in Oz. And now Cinderella (Cici), Sleeping Beauty (Rory) and Snow White (Bianca) are left to figure out what to do without her. Suddenly Zell's leaving sparks the idea of doing more in the other Princesses' heads. CiCi wants to be a chef, which means taking lessons outside in the real world. Snow White suddenly realises her wedding may not be the be all and end all of her life and she could be free to love whoever she wants. And Aurora, well she discovers coffee and that maybe her husband isn't her happily ever after after all and she doesn't have to settle for him. Letters to Zell explores the bumps that come after the happily ever after is sealed and how sometimes it's okay if it doesn't work out.

If you liked Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, I think you might like this book. While Chapters to Zell is not quite as satirical as Beauty Queens, it definitely that over-the-topness I associate with Libba Bray's book. The girls are loud and dramatic and they, and the world they live in, have ideals about how they should live and what they should look like and it's a stretch to try and change these. But the more the girls travel through the portal, the more their eyes open to other things and their real dreams. They begin to fight for what they want - CiCi for her cooking classes, Bianca for her freedom and Rory for anything to bring back a bit of spark to her life.

I thought it was interesting that we never really got to meet Zell. Just heard about what she was like by the letters the other characters wrote to her. She was definitely some ideal fairy princess until the end when CiCi had a go at her and we discover that Zell isn't actually as perfect as we think. I liked that there was some diversity to the books as well, and there was never any hoo-haa about Bianca's choice of partner Outside. I loved that relationship, though it seemed very rushed. I really enjoyed Cici's relationship dynamic with Edmund who at first I thought a bit snobbish and then turned out to be thoughtful and understanding. They  really learned to trust each other and listen to each other. I also loved the princesses' reactions to their Disneyland counter-parts. Definite LOL moments.

This book will throw any ideas you have about your fairy princesses out of the water. So stop thinking about the singing Disney versions, and think more along the lines of the kick-butt princesses we see in Once Upon A Time, cause that's what these girls are mixed in with a little bit of LA-grit.

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