The Woodcutter sister with “a heart as big as the moon” meets her destiny in the third of the frothy fairy-tale series (Hero, 2013, etc.).
Empathetic Friday is as “loving and giving” as the old rhyme says, qualities desperately needed when an accidentally summoned ocean devastates the kingdom. She immediately puts her generous nature and enchanted needle at the service of the refugee children. Discovering that the seven swans on the palace grounds are actually enchanted royalty, she no sooner locks eyes with Prince Tristan than the pair fall instantly in love. Naturally, Friday devotes herself to helping their sister break the princes’ curse, and that’s when her troubles really begin….Once again, Kontis provides a sparkling mashup of familiar tales with a few original twists. Friday is an astonishingly sweet, optimistic and self-sacrificing heroine—the sort anyone would be lucky to know in real life—but unfortunately rather dull to read about. Since “[e]veryone loves” Friday, and she herself has a regrettable tendency toward serial crushes, it’s hard to understand what makes her predestined romance with generic Tristan particularly special. The narrative pace has an odd stop-and-start stutter, while the climactic turn toward the macabre with a (literal) deus ex machina conclusion feels over-the-top.
Perhaps not the best in the series; but it’s hard to resist the Woodcutters’ fluffy, eager-to-please charm. Monday’s story next, please? (Fantasy. 11 & up)