Saturday, November 17, 2012


by Jen Barton

REVIEWED BY: Ellen Fritz


When Fiona Thorn, an ornery orphan with an expertise in explosives, sets out to rescue her imprisoned friend, Jayden Rowanm she wants nothing more than a few sleeping guards and a satchel full of blast. What she gets is a run-in with three bickering princesses that puts all four girls on the wrong side of a locked dungeon door.

Now accidentally involved in a plot to assassinate the King and accused of kidnapping the princesses, Fiona must find a way to free them all, save the king, and rescue Jayden, all while struggling to pay the magical debt that is slowly killing her. Unless of course, the princesses' annoying sibling rivalry kills her first.

Packed with powerful magic, fun-loving fairies and a vicious ogre turned pet, Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a fantasy kid's book sure to become a top ten favorite in middle grade fiction.


Even in a kingdom where magical creatures like fairies, cave bodkins and talking sea turtles, who act as life savers, live, someone will plot to assassinate a perfectly good king.  While Fiona and her talking horse, Manzy, are trying to rescue her fairy friend, Jayden, from imprisonment in a palace tower, they, together with the three princesses, learn of the assassination plans.  Fortunately they have Kevin, the sneezing snake who loves to bat his long eyelashes at everybody, to assist them.  When an embittered, spell casting hag and her snow spider friends enter the picture, the would-be assassins are not their only problem.

This comfortably paced, easy to read book is full of adventure, some sadness and a lot of humor.  The cleverly crafted, versatile characters endeared themselves to me from the word go.  I had to smile when it appeared that Fiona's horse, Manzy, seemed to have more wisdom and sense than her mistress; and is it wise to entrust the magical ability to enlarge or shrink objects to a toddler? 

Amidst the suspense and adventure there is also the gentlest touch of youthful romance and a lesson about the negative effect of jealousy, revenge and bitterness.

Although “Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell” is clearly a book for younger children, I am sure that adults will enjoy this highly original story just as much.  If you thought the old fashioned fairy tale was dead, this book will convince you otherwise.



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