First in the Storybound fantasy series for children.
Burt has a cute idea here that I would have enjoyed more if she’d been a bit more intelligent with it. There were too many spots where I felt Burt was being condescending. I think Burt is hoping to create the next Harry Potter with this, but the story is too simplistic and doesn’t provide enough credit to children’s intelligence. The drama is there, but there’s no depth to it. It’s more that Storybound has some great bones, but Burt didn’t bother to flesh them out. There are too many little jumps without a segue. Mr. Elton sics Snow on Una, but there’s no heat there. It’s all talk. The opportunity with the unicorns just fizzles. The attack by Gog and Magog is almost good.
I did enjoy the initial confrontation for Una, Peter, and Snow as it provides us with a wealth of information about this new world without sounding like an info dump. Burt put some effort into the classes and the details she provides on them—Sam loves the Eating class! The little day-to-day details like magazine articles and the crowds in lunchrooms and tea shops.
How stupid is it that Una brings an extremely valuable book on an exam? And falls asleep with it in her arms when she has the watch?? I’m really confused over the whole Muse book thing. At one point, Burt is saying that the Muses are simply bound and then in another Alethia says she is the only one left. The only one left unbound? Or alive? Or…?
It’s all these jerky guys in cloaks who are snagging places to sit in the basement library. What is the deal with these guys? All Una wants is a quiet place to read and their presence is forcing her into a different part of the library. But then if she hadn’t been pushed, she wouldn’t have found the book on The Tale of Una Fairchild.
A tale that forces her into a new world, where Una falls into a hero’s practical test. A totally confusing time as Peter and Una try to figure out where she fits while Snow simply humphs about. It’s the possibility that Una has been Written In that causes them to tread carefully. For Written In characters were the helpers of the Muses, the oathbreakers who caused so many to die. What might they do to Una if they knew!
It’s Peter’s detention the next morning that brings the next clue when Red appears and threatens Mr. Elton. Then Peter and Una discover the Resistance, the return of the King, and that perhaps the Muses aren’t really gone.
Una Fairchild has been in foster care and seen too many different foster homes for all she can remember of her life. Mrs. McDonough‘s is the best place she’s been yet because she ignores Una and Una can be alone. Really alone.
Peter Merriweather is one of the students at St. Anselm’s and he’s taking his hero’s practical when Una falls into his and Snow’s test. He takes Una home to visit his family one weekend. There’s Oliver the youngest brother, Rosemary the baby, Bastian and Rufus are ten and seven, Trix the cook, and his parents.
Snow Wooton is another student and she’s playing the role of the Lady—I think she needs more work on the “lady” part. The forest creatures who are forced to work for her can certainly attest to that! For some reason she doesn’t live with her mother, but with her Aunt Becky and uncle who treat her very poorly—almost Cinderella-ish. Horace Wooton is her nasty little cousin.
Sam is the talking cat Una rescues from a nasty group of boys. Wilfred Truepenny with his son Endeavor. Griselda is a dryad who has lost her tree.
The instructors include Professor Edenberry who is Outdoor Experiential Questing; Professor Thornhill is Snow’s extremely detached mother and in charge of Villainy—the test on the villain’s laugh had potential; Professor Roderick is Heroics; and, Mrs. Underwood is a substitute;
Archimago Mores is the hero who stopped the Muses and saved Story from their evil plotting. Fidelus was one of the Muses and he didn’t want to lose his power and become less.
Muses create the books of the stories. Characters can only be Written In by the Muses and with the current climate of feeling, this is a very bad thing. Talekeepers keep the existing stock of books in a vault to keep them safe while the Tale Master, Mr. Elton, has put a spell on them to prevent anyone from reading them. Elton is also forcing Snow to spy on Una. Red, a.k.a., Duessa, was Fidelus’ lover and she is heavily covered but obviously evil as she forces Elton to do as she wishes.
The cover has a textured burgundy background which is the least of it. The blue-silver vine border simply ties together the title, author’s name, and the oval frame which cannot hold the gigantic tree that is spilling forth out of the oval. A tree that is lit up with fairy lights, hosting small critters in its branches, and a beautiful pair of double doors that are either engraved metal panels or etched glass. Larger lights are on either side and above the doors welcoming Peter, Sam and Una as they walk up the steps to find dinner.
We are indeed Storybound, bound for the land of Story where, at least, the characters originate.