|Rebecca Lickiss: Never After|
(Paperback), ISBN: 0-441-00907-7
Should I call it a fairy tale? Well, it does read like three or four fairy tales tossed into a blender, whirred on high for several minutes, then served over a large stew of new and/or enhanced complications and a plot entangled in whimsy and charm, well simmered in a heady broth of wit.
What fairy tales? Sleeping Beauty springs to mind…if your version of Sleeping Beauty also includes three identical princes sleeping in the enchanted castle well hidden behind the briars and the thorns.
Did I like it? Yes, I did -- enough to read it through a second time immediately.
Describing the plot, however, presents a real challenge, because Lickiss sums up just about everything a reviewer can afford to reveal in her first paragraph. In the magical world of "Once Upon a Time," a prince goes bride shopping, a rigorous list of requirements in hand. The prince's restless cousin, Lady Vevila, wants adventure; and his friend Mazigian, a new graduate of wizard's school, needs a job. Watching them achieve their goals provides a hefty dose of fun. Watching the protagonists deal with what happens after they win their respective prizes provides even more. Or as Lickiss says: "Finding something and getting it remain miles apart."
If you want a book that will make you titter, say, "Oh, no!" and cause everyone around to look at you askance, then this is the book for you. Never After ranks as a jewel, a prince among books, and a read to giggle over and over. I recommend it highly -- and if my recommendation isn't enough, then consider the sub-title: "Not just another frog-meets-girl story."
Need I say more?
Patricia Lucas White
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