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~*~Stick around to the bottom of this post to read STORYBOUND in its entirety right now!!!
~*~When I first picked up STORYBOUND, I labored under the misconception that a girl from our world finds a book and is sucked into a world full of fairy tales. I was both right and wrong. While Una Fairchild is indeed sucked into the world of Story, she doesn't run into any fairy tale characters. The princes and princesses and villains of the fairy tales we know and love did in fact live and exist at one point in time, but long before Una arrived in Story. Now, everyone trains to be characters, taking classes such as Villainy and Heroics. They can train to be heroes, villains, princesses, ladies, sidekicks, etc. Even animals get to train and go to school to learn how to be characters. Like in Narnia, there are both smart and dumb animals in the world of Story.
I'd loved this creative spin on storybook characters. It reminded me a little of the way book characters come to life in the upcoming teen novel BETWEEN THE LINES by Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer, which I'll be reviewing next Friday (Along with--SURPRISE!!--An interview with the authors! I'm super excited to share this book with you, so please come back next Friday!). Having read BETWEEN THE LINES first, the concept of storybook characters coming to life and being different outside the story wasn't a novel concept to me, though the way the two books explore the theme is completely different, and both are captivating in their own way. STORYBOUND also reminds me a bit of INKHEART, which also shows the interaction between our world and a storybook world. With STORYBOUND, I loved seeing the way characters attended class and learned how to become a character for a story. I thought that concept was unique, and was eager to see the topics they studied, much as I enjoy sitting in on Spy Classes whenever I read Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls books. It's always fun to see something so supremely different from our own mundane classes.
Like any good middle-grade novel worth its salt, STORYBOUND isn't all fun and laughter. From the get-go, the story is fraught with danger. Upon realizing that Una is from the world of Readers and has been Written In, training hero Peter tries his best to keep the truth from The Talekeepers, who have the power to wipe a WI out of existence. Ever since the Muses were overthrown, there have been no newly-written stories, and not Written In characters. Una's very existence in the world of Story is a dangerous one. As Una and Peter research how Una came to be in Story, they discover a sinister plot that will change the fundamental world of Story. The book takes a dark turn that will leave readers surging ahead to see what happens next. I didn't even realize STORYBOUND wasn't a stand-alone until I hit the last page and realized that the book was over. I'll be eager to read STORY'S END next year to see how everything pulls together.
I was impressed with the world-building and the way characters aren't always as they seem. I can't wait to see the development of certain characters continue in the next book. I'm also impressed with the way Marissa Burt reveals how and why Una came to be in Story. It wasn't anything I expected, and the answer isn't like anything I can recall seeing. It is, however, impressive that Burt goes where she does to create this answer, and I can't wait to find out what happens next!
Okay, and so now you want to read STORYBOUND, right? Well, guess what? You can read it online right now, absolutely for FREE! HarperCollins is offering STORYBOUND in its entirety as this month's Browse Inside title. You can read the book directly on their website here, or by thumbing through the pages in the box below [if the script works...]! Thank you, Harper!!