Series: Five Hundred Kingdoms #1
Published by LUNA on January 1st, 2004
Number of Pages: 496
Genres: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Romance
Purchase: At Amazon
In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale...
Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella -- until an accident of fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! Determined not to remain with her stepfamily, Elena set out to get a new job -- and ended up becoming the Fairy Godmother for the land.
But "Breaking with Tradition" was no easy matter. True, she didn't have to sleep in the chimney, but she had to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who kept trying to rise above their place in the tale. In fact, one of them was so ornery that Elena could do nothing but change him into a donkey.
Still, her practical nature couldn't let him roam the country, so she brought the donkey -- er, the prince! -- home to her cottage to teach him some lessons. All the while keeping in mind that breaking with tradition can land everyone into a kettle of fish -- sometimes literally!
“You are as ill-mannered, as stubborn, and as stupid as an ass!” she shouted, “So BE one!”
While I love this series, I must admit that this first book is fairly slow. It doesn’t really pick up until around page 170 or so. This is mostly due to the fact that a lot has to be explained about how the world and magic works. It is done by following a Godmother Apprentice around and learning things as she learns them. You get introduced to some of the Traditional storylines, such as Cinderella, Rapunzel, The Princess Who Could Not Laugh, Sleeping Beauty, and many, many others. None of which are actually called that, the Rapunzel path is called ‘Ladderlocks’, and the others have names that fit well enough for you to easily figure them out.
It is highly amusing to me that in this fantasy world, unicorns are portrayed as the worst sort of stupid, besotted, completely brainless dandelion fluffs. Only around virgins of the appropriate sex of course, but seeing in your minds eye how the regal and beautiful creatures turn into lap dogs who want nothing more than to lay their heads in the laps of virgins is always good for a giggle.
Godmother Elena has always been my favorite of the Godmothers in this series. And this book is all about her, and how she came to be a Godmother. It also shows how she manages to not only wrestle her Kingdoms down the Traditional paths of her choosing (as opposed to the paths the Tradition chooses), but how she forges new paths.
None of the other books go into as much detail about the Tradition, and what Godmother duties are as this one does. So if you have read this one, I would highly recommend you read any of the other books in the series before giving up on it altogether. If that is, you don’t enjoy this book. It is as I mentioned, a slow start, but completely worth it. I don’t re-read it as often as some of the other books in the series, but I do re-read it. If for no other reason than to laugh over the trials Godmother Elena goes through with Alexander. That right there makes the slow start worth it to me.
The other thing to be aware of, is there are sex scenes in this book. Only 2 really, and they stop before the actual act, but it surprised me because it isn’t something I’m used to from this author. They also aren’t in-depth, but I wanted to be sure to mention it in case anyone was considering buying these books for younger kids. I haven’t come across this in any other book in the series as of yet, but it is in this one towards the end.
There are also quite a number of typos (back instead of black comes to mind), and sentences where the words have been switched around or have extra copies of words. You would think the editor or proofreader would have caught those, but they’re all throughout the book.
Over all, I would recommend reading this book and the rest of the series as well.