Will a beautiful young girl locked up in a tower be an ingredient in the spell to fulfill a wicked queen’s wish for beauty, or will she be the queen’s undoing?
Queen Bogdana longs for nothing more than to be beautiful, and she will stop at nothing to achieve her heart’s desire. Queen Bogdana, who is really an evil witch, has almost everything else. The magic spell that will make her beautiful requires two ingredients Bogdana does not have: “a feather from a living hummingbird and a strand of hair the color of darkness plucked from the head of a girl with eyes the color of lavender who had lived at least eleven years but no more than twelve.” As luck would have it, a newborn baby girl, Violet, fits the requirement, and the queen has Violet and her mother incarcerated in a tower until the appropriate time comes to obtain the strand of hair. The plot is set for the perfect fairy tale: an evil witch, greed, an innocent young girl, a devoted parent, and loyal friends. Ultimately, though, the undoing of this story lies in the bland, one-dimensional quality of its characters. Time passes easily reading the book, but it’s not enough to lift it above others in its well-populated genre.
Lacks the nuance of such exemplars as Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter (1983) or Sharon Creech’s The Castle Corona (2007). (Fantasy. 8-12)