ONCE UPON STILETTOS by Shanna Swendson


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City girl tries to find love and avoid evil wizard.

In this sequel to Enchanted, Inc. (not reviewed), two wildly disparate fictional genres get together and leave nobody happy in the morning. Katie, the single Manhattanite who just doesn’t know what to do with guys even when they come on to her, works not at a fashion magazine or publishing house but instead at MSI (Magic, Spells and Illusions), which is “kind of like a Microsoft for magic users, only not as into world domination.” Though she doesn’t have any supernatural abilities, Katie possesses a rare immunity to magic, “which in the magical world counts as sort of a superpower.” Arguably, she should have one of the world’s coolest jobs, but in Swendson’s hands, it becomes just another standard office gig. In order to follow the recipe of chick-lit, she engages in some romantic back and forth with nerdy coworker Owen, as well as with the immeasurably more suave Ethan, and also in much should-I-buy? self-torture over a pair of ridiculously expensive red shoes. The fantasy element is dealt with in an even less satisfying manner. Katie has an enemy of sorts, an obnoxious wizard named Phelan Idris who’s more irritating geek than terrifying death-dealer. Throughout, the author uses magic merely as a hook: “I don’t like it when weird, magical stuff gets in the way of my personal life,” Katie moans. Unfortunately, more of that weird, magical stuff could have helped make this less of a snooze.

If J.K. Rowling had gotten to about page five of her first book and then started reading bad, watered-down romance novels, the result might have looked like this.

Pub Date: May 30th, 2006
ISBN: 0-345-48127-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2006