Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review of The Sevenfold Spell

The Sevenfold Spell is a new novella by Tia Nevitt, who runs the wonderful Debuts & Reviews site. This Sleeping Beauty story is the first in a series of fairy tale retellings called Accidental Enchantments. The next book will be based on Cinderella, and there are plans for books based on Beauty and the Beast and Snow White as well. The Sevenfold Spell was published in e-book format and was just released this week.

This particular version of the Sleeping Beauty tale is based on the familiar myth but makes it into its own unique version. While it is the same basic story with the fairies and a princess destined to prick her finger on a spinning wheel, the princess is not the main focus. The Sevenfold Spell is told from the perspective of a commoner named Talia, who is of marriageable age at the beginning of the story. The princess Aurora was just cursed by the evil fairy, and all spinning wheels have been outlawed from the kingdom. Talia and her mother earn their living by spinning, and the consequences of the seizure of their spinning wheel are devastating. A good portion of Talia's dowry goes toward a new loom so she and her mother can begin learning and practicing a new trade. As a result, she and her suitor Willard do not have enough money to begin a life together and Willard's father sends him to a monastery. Over the course of several years, we see just how this affects the course of Talia's life and how her story ties in with that of Princess Aurora.

The Sevenfold Spell is a fast, absorbing novella. It didn't take long at all too engage me, and it only took about an hour and a half to two hours to read from start to finish. As someone who is a paper book fan, I was a little unsure about reading an e-book and I think it would have been hard for me if it hadn't grabbed my attention pretty quickly or if it had been dense. Fortunately this was not the case and I quickly forgot I was reading on a screen (other than on a couple of occasions when I noticed how heavy the iPad gets).

The first half of the book was actually pretty racy, and I was a little surprised by the amount of sex and wondered at first when it would get to more about the fairy tale. It began with showing just how terrified people were to be losing their primary means of making money when the spinning wheels were banned, and the next part was a lot of sex scenes. Early in the story, I wasn't quite sure how they related to the rest of the book, but by the time I was finished, I felt that it ended up shaping her character quite a bit. It made sense that she'd decide just to have some fun and forget about her reputation - her prospects for marriage were gone and she was probably feeling pretty hopeless at that point. Plus it did shape her character throughout the years, and it influenced some advice she gave to a certain prince later.

The second half of the book ended up dealing more with the fairy tale, and Princess Aurora and the prince take on larger roles. I especially enjoyed reading about the explanations for the details in this well-known story, such as why the fairies could not counteract the curse.

The Sevenfold Spell is still the Sleeping Beauty we are all familiar with but with a different perspective that sets it apart from being just another retelling of this fairy tale. It moves at a good pace and is entertaining - and a bit romantic.

My Rating: 7/10

Where I got my reading copy: The author sent me a copy.

Other Reviews:


Chachic said...

I love reading fairy tale retelling so I'm pretty curious about this one. Although it sounds pretty racy compared to the other retellings that I've read.

orannia said...

Great review Kristen - thank you. And a really interesting premise. Not quite sure why I thought this was YA - obviously with the racy scenes it's not :)

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for the review, Kristen! It meant a lot to me.

Kristen said...

Chachic - It does have more sex than most of the fairy tale retellings I've read before, too. There are less of those scenes in the second half than early in the story, though.

Orannia - It is an interesting premise - I liked seeing the tale of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of a spinner affected by the ban. And no, it's definitely not YA!

Tia - Thank you for sending a copy of your book! I've been excited about reading it ever since I first saw the pretty cover and the blurb.