Princess Marabel of Magikos goes on a quest to save her twin brother, Marco.
For their 13th birthday, royal twins Princess Marabel and Prince Marco (both white) attend a grand celebration to celebrate Marco, the Chosen One as predicted by the kingdom’s Book of Fate. Marabel loves her brother but feels second-rate, once again. When their aunt Mab (banished by the king to the Desolate Barrens, a separated part of Magikos) crashes the party and kidnaps Marco, Marabel, along with her white maid-cum–best friend, Ellie, and a talking unicorn named Floriano (whose plot purpose seems to be opening doors with his magical horn), nervously travels to the Desolate Barrens—a land populated by “Evils”—to rescue him. The three trudge through many derivative adventures borrowed from fairy tales and popular culture as they make their way to Mab’s castle. The story considers worthy, timely themes in Marabel’s realization that the creatures labeled “Evils” are only different, not wicked, and in her growing self-empowerment as she faces down danger and fear. These are unfortunately diluted by the story’s slack execution. Marabel indulges in the plot contrivance of self-doubting inner questioning on a tiresomely frequent basis, and there are several plot inconsistences. Many jokes based on popular/internet culture (“WizFi,” “Angry Pheonixes,” and “elfie,” for instance) are not well-integrated and feel gratuitous.
Poor execution distracts from the story’s important themes of female empowerment, tolerance, and inclusion. (Fantasy. 8-12)