Book Review: Storybound

Title/Author:  Storybound by Marissa Burt
(Storybound #1)

Genre:  Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure

Published:  April 3rd, 2012 by Harper Collins Children’s

Hardcover, 404 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from my library

Why I Picked It Up?:  I stumbled upon this book at the end of last year and immediately put it on my TBR list.  This is one of my most anticipated MG reads of 2012!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “When Una Fairchild stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, she thinks nothing of opening the cover and diving in.  But instead of paging through a regular novel, Una suddenly finds herself Written In to the land of Story–a world filled with Heroes and Villains and fairy-tale characters.

But not everything in Story is as magical as it seems.  Una must figure out why she has been Written In–and fast–before anyone else discvoers her secret.  Together with her new friend Peter and a talking cat named Sam, Una digs deep into Story’s shadowy past.  She quickly realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never cold have imagined–and it might be up to her to save it.”

My Review of this Work:

Wow. I first stumbled upon this MG fantasy last year on Goodreads, and I immediately fell in love with the cover!  I don’t know why, but I just have this thing for magical/beautiful trees!  And then I read the blurb, and IMMEDIATELY I clicked the “To Read” button and added this book to my watch list for 2012.  So when I finally got the email that said that there was a copy ready and waiting for me on the shelves of my library, I was SUPER PUMPED!  And I must admit, this book did not disappoint all my personal hype.  I pretty much ADORED it!

The story begins with a loner-type girl, Una, who comes from the foster system and who finds solace in her life when curled up in a chair with a book in her hands in her school library’s basement.  One day, she stumbles across an old book on the shelves and picks it up.  To her surprise, she sees her name written on the first page of the story.  The next thing she knows, she finds herself in the middle of a quest, complete with hero Peter and Lady Snow, having to fight off real live dragons!  After the discovery of Una having been “written in” to the land of Story, Peter helps her figure out just what that means, all the while avoiding notice of the story-tellers.

I think I was about halfway through this novel before I realized that this novel would have a sequel, and I’ll be honest, part of me wondered WHY?  The first half of this novel was so beautifully written and set up for a fantastic stand-alone novel.  But then I read the second half, and the storyline EXPLODED with excitement and mystery and then I realized, Oh, THAT’s why there is a sequel.  Well done, Ms. Burt, well done.  The beginning of this novel has a whimsical feel to it and feeds the reader information about this magical land of Story; the ending of this novel is full of fast-paced excitement and discoveries that leave you wondering and guessing!  I won’t say much about the rest of the plot development (to keep my review spoiler free!), but I will say that I was truly shocked and surprised with the twisting developments toward the end of this novel!  I really wasn’t expecting this to be a novel that I found unpredictable, but wow, I was definitely surprised at key moments in this novel.

Here’s to the characters, who offer levels of intrigue.  First is our courageous Una, who finds herself feeling more at home in this fantasy world than she ever did in her world–she has no problem fighting dragons or, even worse, starting a new (and unusual) school.  For me, she was an immediately loveable heroine (or shall I say Lady 😉  ) with whom I found myself completely drawn to.  She is that child who is so inquisitive and so logical, you can’t help but thinking they are older than they are.  You will fall in love with her and be surprised with her as she learns more about why she is has been Written In to Story.

Our Story characters are an interesting bunch.  You have Peter, who is so brave and caring and willing to do anything to help, even if that means skipping your Hero exams.  He makes an excellent “main man” for this novel, playing the role of the loveable boy in the story.  Then you have Snow (who is from the lineage of Snow White), who is that really interesting character because you don’t really know if she is good or bad.  She walks the line of best friend and worst enemy, and you can just never tell which she is.  Sam the cat (who is of the talking kind, not to be confused with your normal housecat) is the comedic addition to this character list, becoming an instant favorite!  He’s witty, he’s sneaky, and he thinks about food a lot (because yes, he is a cat).  And lastly, there is the ever elusive, almost shadow-like presence looming throughout the novel that becomes very important towards the end.  So be on the lookout for him/her!

I am not going to lie, the land of Story is truly beautiful, so simple yet so genius.  Why, of course there would be a land where heroes train to be heroes, villains train to be villains, and talking animals train as loving sidekicks!  Where else would the characters of fairy tales and fantasies come from but a school for Characters?!  Sure, you might cross some moments while reading this novel where you think to yourself, “Wait, why is that so? Where did that come from?” But the fact of the matter is, for a MG novel geared toward younger audiences, this novel creates a world that I would rank up there as one of the COOLEST places you could live (especially when I was 10-12 years old lol).  The magic and the intrigue and the enchantment that the world of Story holds is a beautiful depiction of what may lie on the other side of our storybooks.

If you are looking for a magical adventure centered around our beloved love of reading and books, then pick up a copy of this.  Storybound is a novel for all-ages to enjoy; whether you are an young adult reading for the love of a magical story, or a parent reading an entrancing story to your child, this is a story that will captivate its audience each and every time the book is opened.  I am anxiously awaiting the sequel.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book!

I found this book to be a pleasant surprise read.  From the get-go, you are immediately pulled into the magical world of Story and captivated by the truth behind the stories we read.  While there are some spots where you may feel you don’t get enough explanation, overall this is a magical tale that keeps you on your toes from beginning to end.  Definitely recommend this one to those who love MG fantasies!  3.5 stars!

Love and Mr. Pibb,
Jennifer

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: Storybound

  1. 365_books_a_year says:

    I've wanted to read this book since I saw the cover in an ad on GR. I went to request it from the library, but that hadn't ordered it. After seeing your review, I went and checked and my library has it so I requested it. I love fairy tale type books. Have you read Enchanted by Althea Kontis? I really liked that one.

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