There’s no question that “[m]essing around in the Villainous parts of Story is risky stuff,” in this sequel to Burt’s debut novel, Storybound (2012).
Young Una Fairchild is back, desperately trying to unravel the vast entangled problems in the land of Story. The Tale of Beginnings reveals the three legendary Elements of Story’s origins: the Silver Quill dipped in Dragon’s Ink applied to a Scroll of Fire. When these three elements are brought together again, the End will be written, and the old Story will be complete, making way for a new Story to begin. Along with friends Peter, Indy and Snow, Una races to make sure that the Elements do not fall into the wrong hands—in her case, hands that are more related to her than she ever dreamed possible. While Burt has strong concepts and a penchant for plot, the events of the story fail to reveal much about the one-dimensional characters. As in Storybound, without the grounding of and association with clear character development, the plot sometimes devolves into a long sequence of breathless and cluttered details.
Despite its flaws, this book has a magical and endearing quality that may be particularly helpful for readers who need to leave an old story behind and begin to write a new one. (Fantasy. 8-12)