Princess Callie and the Totally Amazing Talking Tiara
Format: Kindle Edition (my version from Smashwords)
File Size: 379 KB
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Copy for review generously provided by the author; read on my Sony e-reader
Callie Richards has had an ordinary life. That is, until her twelfth birthday. When she was younger, her mother died in a tragic car accident, leaving Callie and her father behind. Even though she has had to live without a mother, Callie has had a good life. She is surrounded by love from her father and her best friend, Lewis. The only person that seems to hate her is the class bully, Wanda.
Wanda is horribly jealous of Callie, and seems to have made it her personal mission to make Callie’s life miserable. When Callie receives a mysterious gift at school for her birthday, Wanda’s jealousy reaches a new height. She eavesdrops on Callie and Lewis while they gaze at the beautiful necklace Callie has received, and discovers that Callie and Lewis are about to embark on a grand adventure. Later that night, she follows Callie and Lewis into a secret tunnel that acts as a magical portal to a new world. Wanda is tired of being unloved and overlooked; she is determined to make a name for herself… no matter the cost.
When the trio reaches the other side of the cave, Wanda has disappeared. Callie and Lewis begin their adventures within the walls of Albion’s palace. While she is there, Callie learns that she is a princess—and the rightful heir to the throne—of the kingdom. Stranger yet, the Queen is her grandmother! All of the news is exciting; except for the part that names Callie as the sole defender of the kingdom against the evil Raven Queen. Armed with her new (and often uncontrolled) magical powers, her best friend Lewis (the newly appointed Royal Advisor), and a nearsighted dragon, Callie sets off to defeat the Raven Queen and save the kingdom of Albion.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was a very original fairy tale, full of action and mystery. The lovely red-haired Callie is a charming protagonist. She doubts herself and is self-conscious (like most twelve year old girls I know), but she discovers her inner strength. She’s intelligent and caring, which shows when she refuses to abandon her nearly blind dragon. Callie even feels concern for the seething and conniving Wanda, the classroom bully that makes Callie’s life miserable. Another one of my favorite characters is Lewis, Callie’s best friend. Lewis is a nerd, but he’s a lovable nerd. He’s also completely smitten with Callie. You can picture the look of pure admiration on his face when he speaks to Callie. He’s charming, loves reading (How could you not love this character?), is a science guru, and constantly encourages Callie when she doubts herself. In short, he’s the perfect compliment to the young princess. Unfortunately, the other characters were a little less lovable. I never really felt a connection to them. I did, however, sympathize with Wanda. The beginning of the book gave a vivid description of what it would be like to live in her shoes, and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the girl. She has such a lonely life. It was easy to see how she fell under the Raven Queen’s spell, and why she spent so much time hating Callie.
The setting of this story was also very unique. I loved that the “Land of Ur” was what the people of Albion called Earth. I also found it delightful that the light source in Albion came from Sweetbugs (ornery lightning bugs). I chuckled every time Lewis had to flatter the spiteful little creatures in order to get light in his lantern. You could tell that there was a lot of detail that went in to making this setting original. For example, the foods ate during the Royal banquet were full of strange delicacies that made Callie and Lewis turn green around the gills. When they asked for a hamburger to eat, the Royal Chef brought them an entire family of Hamburgers to choose from. I couldn’t help but appreciate the humor in the situation. There were many details that added to the originality of this story, but it would take me pages to explain them all. Every little detail in this book was well thought out—no loop holes or missing pieces to be found.
Another plus, was the fast paced plot. In the beginning of the book it seemed a little slow to take off, but once you discover Wanda eavesdropping on Callie and Lewis, the story takes off. It is all sorts of twists and turns from that point forward. Every time I thought I had figured out the next major event, a twist was thrown in. I must say, I do love a good twist in the plot of a book! There were plenty of action scenes to satisfy my advenure story loving side. Some of the characters were outright diabolical, which kept things fresh. There seemed to be a new conflict always brewing in the background.
Basically, if I had a little girl I would buy this book for her, even if it had to sit on her bookshelf until she was old enough to read it. I enjoyed every page! I wouldn’t consider this YA material. Many older readers might consider it too juvenile. However, it fits nicely in the middle grades genre. Any girl between the ages of 10-13 would enjoy this book. Or, if you’re like me, any adult that appreciates a good fairy tale would also enjoy this book.