Princess between Worlds by E. D. Baker

Princess between Worlds, by E. D. Baker, was published in 2016. It is the sequel to Princess in Disguise.

Just as Princess Annie and Prince Liam are making plans to leave Treecrest and travel the world, a witch shows up and gifts them a collection of postcards from the Magic Marketplace. She explain that by simply touching a postcard, it will transport Annie and Liam to exotic lands and far-flung kingdoms. During their adventures, they meet many new friends, but they also encounter people who want to harm them. What the witch doesn’t tell them is how to safely return, so it’ll be up to Annie—with her immunity to magic—to find a way to get Liam and herself home before they find themselves stuck in one place forever.

Rating: 2/5

I wasn’t planning on reading more of Baker’s works, especially not a series that has continuously disappointed me, but I saw Princess between Worlds on the library shelves and decided to pick it up. And…it only reinforced my decision that I’m not a fan of Annie’s story anymore.

I did find the idea of a crossover appealing, and Princess between Worlds has characters from Baker’s Tales of the Frog Princess in it, although I hadn’t gotten far enough in the series to meet those particular characters. Now, since Baker essentially reveals everything that occurs in those books, I no longer have to read them—yes, be warned that Baker spoils the events of the later books in the Frog Princess series with this book. The crossover was clearly fan service, but it was a reasonably good idea, and it was probably the part of the book I found most interesting.

Other than that, Princess between Worlds is same old, same old—Annie and Liam go on an adventure, get into trouble because of Annie’s magic, have stilted conversations with each other and with other people, and are attacked by enemies for no apparent reason other than to create conflict. Baker also gets around Annie’s magical immunity by introducing a new, special magic that is not affected by her gift, and I supposed it makes sense in a way even if it is hand-waving and obviously contrived. These series would be good for children who enjoy these sorts of fairy-tale-esque adventures, but if they want something with more depth and memorability, they should look elsewhere.

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Warnings: Kissing

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade

“So you think we should use these postcards?” said Liam. “And all we have to do is touch them?”

Moonbeam nodded. “You have to touch the middle of the card showing the place you want to visit while thinking about how much you want to go there. While you’re on your grand tour, I’ll find Rotan and lock him away for good. With my fair friends helping me, we should find him long before you come home.”

Liam examined the card on the top of the pile. “We could go to this one first. The views from that mountain are amazing! Look, Annie, the picture looks so real, almost as if you could feel the sow.”

“Liam, no!” Annie shouted, grabbing his free hand as he touched the middle of the postcard with the other.

An instant later they were gone, leaving Moonbeam staring at the spot where they’d been standing.

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Fairy Tale Friday: Princess In Disguise

Princess in Disguise is written by E. D. Baker. It was published in 2015 by Bloomsbury. It is the sequel to The Bravest Princess.

Summary/Blurb:

After helping Sleeping Beauty and Snow White break the curses that plagued them, Princess Annie is finally ready to live happily ever after with Prince Liam. She’s planned the perfect day for a celebration, but then everything starts to go wrong! A huge storm floods the castle. Then, guests fall mysteriously ill and a dangerous fog appears, trapping everyone. Someone with a lot of magic is causing trouble. The one person who can help is the fairy Moonbeam, and Annie’s immunity to magic makes her the only person able to reach her. With Liam in tow, Annie embarks on a wild adventure beyond the castle walls. Along the way, she’ll run into some familiar friends…and some dangerous new foes. Will Annie be able to reach Moonbeam in time to turn everything around?

Yawn.

E. D. Baker has a penchant for writing really good books, then writing sequels that get progressively more boring. And her stand-alone novel, A Question of Magic, is also a tedious read. I’ve been trying to figure out why this is.

I think part of it is due to her writing style. Princess in Disguise is very tell-heavy, with lots of similar structured sentences that make for a sort of monotone as you read them. A lot of the dialogue was about Annie and Liam discussing what they were seeing or telling each other what they were going to do, which make everything seem a little mechanical. I think the main thing that bothered me is that Baker’s writing is just average. And nothing in her writing or the plot inspired me to care about the book.

My opinion of Baker has really gone down since I first started reading her books. It’s a little sad, to be honest, and it’s tainted my view of the first two books in this series.

Rating: 1/5

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Middle Grade

Passages/Quotes:

“Have you come to gloat?” he asked.

“I came to offer you a ride. It’s daylight now and I’m surprised the farmer hasn’t seen us yet.”

“I suppose we could ride together,” Liam said, eyeing the gelding.

“I think he could handle that just fine,” Annie said, reaching out to give Liam a hand up. “I have no idea what his name is, but I’m going to call him Otis.”

Overall Review:

Princess of Disguise is an unfortunately boring book, with almost nothing to recommend it except that it’s part of the halfway-decent Wide-Awake Princess series (a series in which my opinion has degraded the more books I’ve read in it). I don’t think I can read Baker anymore, simply because I haven’t found any of her books pleasant to read recently. Not because they were necessarily bad, but because they were just so boring and flat.

You can buy this here: Princess in Disguise: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess

Fairy Tale Friday: Unlocking The Spell

Unlocking the Spell is written by E. D. Baker. It was published in 2012 by Bloomsbury. It is the sequel to The Wide-Awake Princess. Baker’s website can be found here.

Summary/Blurb:

“When Princess Annie helped her older sister, Gwendolyn (aka Sleeping Beauty), wake up from that pesky hundred-year curse by finding her beloved prince, did life get back to normal?

Not a chance!

Unfortunately, that beloved prince, Beldegard, is stuck in the body of a bear. And as much as Princess Gwendolyn loves him (a little too much, Annie thinks!) it soon becomes clear that only Annie, with her amazing ability to fend off magic, can find the evil dwarf who cast the spell.

Luckily, Annie has assistance from the handsome prince Liam, and for a girl with no magic, she certainly has a few tricks in her repertoire.”

Thoughts:

After reading this book, I find that I actually prefer this world to Baker’s other world in The Tales of the Frog Princess. This is even more of a fairy-tale world than the other, and Baker incorporates lesser-known fairytales, such as Puss in Boots and the Town Musicians of Bremen, not to mention sly references to the fairytale about the tablecloth that gives you food and others.

This book is also hilariously funny. Just the image of Annie holding Beldegard’s hand so he turns human and sitting there as he and Gwendolyn kiss is hilarious. And the fairy-tale world fits perfectly with the humor of the quest.

Lest you think it’s all fun and games, there’s also character development! Gwendolyn and Annie improve their relationship and Annie, because of the events of the last book, begins to appreciate her lack of magic more—and so do the people around her.

Finally, I have to say that I absolutely adore the cover art.

Rating: 5/5

Recommended Age Range: 12+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairy Tale

Passages/Quotes:

Liam leaned forward in his seat. “Where is Carabas located? I’m afraid I’ve never heard of it.”

“Ah, that is because it is far from here, located in the kingdom of Dorinocco,” said Puss.

Liam snorted and covered it with a pretend cough. Annie couldn’t help but smile. He was the second son of the king and queen of Dorinocco […] If anyone would know about the towns in Dorinocco, it would be Liam.

“How interesting,” said Liam. “You see, I’ve traveled extensively throughout Dorinocco, yet I’ve never heard of Carabas.”

~Baker 51

“I have a question for you,” Beldegard said to the fish in a softer voice as he leaned toward the side of the boat.

The fish swam closer, peering up at the bear prince with its cold, round eyes. “Yes?” it said. “What is it?”

“Were you ever a human?”

“Human?” the fish said, sounding incredulous. “Of course not! Now if that isn’t the stupidest question I’ve ever—”

With a swipe of his paw, Beldegard scooped up the fish and shoved it into his mouth.

~Baker 169

Overall Review:

Unlocking the Spell has many references to the lesser-known fairy tales, causing delight for those who have read them. It’s funny, adventurous, and cute, with development of characters and other good elements. I am eagerly looking forward to the next book.

You can buy this here: Unlocking the Spell: A Tale of the Wide-Awake Princess