Unlocking the Spell, by E.D. Baker

Unlocking the Spell, by E.D. Baker (Bloomsbury, October 2012, ages 8-11), is the sequel to The Wide-Awake Princess, in which the titular princess, Annie, is the only one who doesn't fall asleep when her big sister falls under the magic curse ala Sleeping Beauty.   It's up to Annie, the only person in all the kingdoms who magic has no effect on, to find a prince to come kiss her sister...which she does, with all sorts of fairy-tale mash-up adventures along the way.

However, the prince that Annie comes up with has one little issue--he's a bear.  A prince enchanted into bear form, true, but still a bear.

So Annie, her sister, the bear, and Liam (Annie's friend from her first adventure) set out to find the dwarf who worked this malicious magic.  And what follows is a pretty entertaining, though somewhat dizzying, whirl of a journey through fairy tale snippet after snippet--from Puss in Boots to the Three Little Pigs, to the Bremen Town musicians to Snow White and many, many, more....and in all these encounters, Annie's gift (?) of magic-suppression plays a part.

So basically it's a show-case of fractured-fairy tale set pieces, amusingly woven into a pretty coherent whole, but it's somewhat light on the character development (although Annie does wonder about the relationship between Liam and herself....).  Annie's spoiled and ultra-beautiful sister, for instance, never becomes much more interesting or agreeable than she was at the beginning, despite all the shared adventures and dangers.   So for younger readers who want fairy tale fun, it's great; for older readers, it might not have quite enough depth.

disclaimer:  this one was received from the publisher ages ago, and has been languishing in my home far too long...


  1. Wow. I did not know that Wide Awake Princess had a sequel. I should have been looking for it, since I loved Wide Awake Princess. I will get this book!

    1. So very happy to have been of use! It just goes to show that it's worth mentioning books that have been out for a while, and not just blogging about new releases.

  2. Cute cover, I can't help thinking of Tangled.

  3. I so WANT to like E. D. Baker's novels. She has such splendid ideas for stories. But then I keep finding the actual books incredibly shallow. Sigh. Maybe I'm just too old for them...


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