Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Tracy Barrett
Publisher: Little Brown Books
As far as princesses go, Marabel is a very ordinary one. She has been overshadowed by her twin brother Marco for her entire life. He is the chosen one after all, the one named by the Book of Fate to save their kingdom of Magikos. But when Marco is kidnapped by their evil aunt, Marabel embarks on an incredible adventure to get him back. Her journey takes her into the next door kingdom where giants, goblins, ogres, dragons, faeries, and all sorts of "evils" lurk. Along the way, Marabel discovers power she never knew she had. She also learns that her aunt and the magical creatures in her aunt's kingdom aren't as evil as she once thought. Marabel becomes the hero everyone thought her brother would be and manages to rescue Marco and prevent a war between the two kingdoms.
Marabel and the Book of Fate is a charming coming-of-age story. Marabel serves as a great role model for young girls as she works to overcome her insecurities and finds a strength in herself she didn't know she possessed. However, the actual writing is subpar. The transitions are choppy, the dialogue is dull, the character development is weak, and the plot is predictable. The book tries to incorporate elements of too many preexisting magical worlds and only manages to create one overcrowded and underdeveloped magical world. Every problem or plot twist in the story works out just a little too perfectly. Overall, it is a pleasant story with immature writing. It will be enjoyed in a classroom, but definitely will not be held up as the gold standard of novel prowess.