Book Review: Utterly Charming by Kristine Grayson

Synopsis: Law school graduate Nora Barr is about to close the doors on her new company when she gets a client with an unusual request. Aethelstan “Alex” Blackstone wants Nora to hide Sleeping Beauty from her evil stepmother until the girl wakes up in ten years because she is his soul mate. Now Nora is trying to teach a maiden from the middle ages how to survive in the computer ages, avoiding a wicked witch so as not to be turned into a toad, and trying not to fall in love with the mage who started it all…

Author: Kristine was previously the editor for Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and also ran Pulphouse Publishing. She has written six novels, some of which have won awards.

Cover: The mass-market paperback cover is very fairy tale-esque and therefore eye-catching, but it isn’t a very accurate depiction of anything that actually occurs in the novel. The hero only ever wears T-shirts, the heroine has blond hair and wears suits instead of ball gowns, there isn’t a single castle in sight, and the only books mentioned have to do with law. Nevertheless, the artwork is well done and achieves the overall aesthetic of fantasy novels.

Pacing: While you are never struggling to get through a scene or impatiently waiting for something to happen, this isn’t an edge-of-the-seat read. It flows smoothly along, but very rarely do you eagerly anticipate what will happen next.

Point of View: The novel is told from three perspectives, but mostly from the viewpoint of Nora who is the main female character. The other two angles are from the hero and, less so, of the villain.

Character: Emma Lost is a twenty-year-old girl who has been the warring grounds for a wizard and a witch for a thousand years. Never aging and never waking while within her glass box, Emma now needs to learn everything from how to do up a zipper and what a bidet is while trying to avoid being a magical pawn once more.

Romance: Even though this novel is considered a romance, the relationships between the characters are somewhat lacking. You accept the attraction between Nora and Alex more because you want to than because of anything the characters do. Also, Alex keeps claiming that Emma is his soul mate, yet nothing about his behaviour indicates even he believes that.

Unfulfilled Promise: From the back copy you expect this novel to have more of a fairy tale aspect. While it does mention a variety of stories, myths, and legends within the happenings, the book is about a lawyer who happens to have a client who had been sleeping for a thousand years and now needs to deal with the fall out.

Quote: She hated being practical. Her father used to say that it stole the magic from her life. And he was probably right. 

The Verdict: While the novel wasn’t what I was anticipating, it was still a cute read. This is probably a good “beginner” book for those just starting to get into the fantasy genre as it uses a minimum of fantastical elements. It might not be one that I would read over and over again, but I will still likely pick up the other books in the series to find out what happens next.

 Previous Reviews: AcornaThe Emerald AtlasThere is No Dog

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Author: JaimeKristal

JaimeKristal is a freelance editor and writer. She started her book review blog "Tales of a Booklover" for the enjoyment of sharing her love of reading.

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