Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae.
Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
THIS BOOK, PEOPLE.
I’m part of an amazing writing group of Mirriam Neal’s and had the honor of reading Paper Crowns back in its earlier stages before publication. I only dreamed of it being released to the world, because everyone needed to read it. When Mirriam announced it was going to be published, well, squealing and flailing may have ensued. Receiving an actual, physical copy of this story I had so fallen in love with was a dream come true. I immediately devoured it two days after receiving it, and it was just as enchanting as I remembered, perhaps even more so.
This book is so photogenic! DAT COVER. <3
What I love about Mirriam’s writing is her ability to seamlessly change her style to suit whatever book she’s creating at the time. Normally her stories are on the darker, grittier side, but occasionally she’ll take a break to write something lighter. Thus Paper Crowns was born.
This is not a deep book. It’s only 191 pages and very simplistic, but that’s the charm of it. This is a fairytale through and through, with an enchanting world, magical beings, humorous mishaps, and beautifully simple but fluent writing that sweeps you away right into the whimsy of it all. Then there’s Mirriam’s trademark loveable characters who warms your heart like a winter’s fire.
We’ve got. . .
Hal: The sarcastic, shapeshifting blue cat. Do I even need to say more?
Ginny: Our heroine who can make origami come alive. Is this not the coolest ability EVER??
Salazar: A fire elemental who talks in ALL CAPS. I think that explains his character well enough. He’s a riot. XD
Azrael: Just. . .Azrael. If nothing else, read this book for Azrael. He’s a “wysling”, similar to what we would call a wizard, who is always reluctant to help. But you know, deep down, he cares. Maybe.
Asterope: Another wysling who’s much more willing to help than Azrael and nice and fun and precious.
Basically EVERYBODY IS PRECIOUS.
What really strikes me in this story is the. . .wistfulness of it all. Though most of it takes place in a wintry land of faerie, the first bits are in our world, but a more enchanting version of our world. Mirriam knows how to make life seem so beautiful, to make you see the delight in small things. The entire beginning is filled with coffee and origami and the smell of leather journals and double-decker buses and a cottage in the woods. This tale makes me feel so refreshed. Like all the bad and ugly in our world has been erased, leaving only the simple beauty of life. It makes me appreciate the little things and find joy in it all.
Once we leave our world behind and enter the land of the faerie, the story only gets more beautiful. Full of snow and magic and curious people. It’s a beautiful story all around. But it’s also funny. I adore Mirriam’s humor. The character interactions are so snappy and hilarious, and the ridiculous mishaps had me grinning all the way through.
This story is practically perfect. Really the only complaint I have is some typos, but I think that’s currently being fixed, so I suspect it’s only the early printings of the book that will have those.
The other thing is I wish there was more. Like I said, it’s a very short, simple book. But, really, that’s the charm in it. As much as I’d like a 500 page monster of this world and characters because I love them that much, it wouldn’t be the same. This is the type of book meant to be read in the sun on a spring day or curled up next to the fireplace. I think it’s very purpose is merely a breath of fresh air. It’s not deep or long or complicated. It’s a simple fairytale—enchanting and beautiful. And that’s just right.
But, not to fear, there are more books on the way! I’ve actually read the sequel, Paper Hearts, and love it even more than Paper Crowns. Which is saying something, let me tell you. I so very, very hope Paper Hearts will be out to the public in the near future!
Nothing really. Like I said, this is a light read. The violence is to a minimum and the content perfectly clean. There is magic though. People called wyslings are much like wizards, as I said. It didn’t bother me, it’s so light and fairytale-like, but I know a lot of people don’t do magic so I wanted to let everyone know.
I’d recommend this book to the young and old. I could easily see 10-year-olds very much enjoying it, but the heroine is 18 herself, so it’s got a slight YA feel as well.
THIS BOOK IS PERFECTION.
Ahem. Okay, okay. It may not be everyone’s type of story. But if you enjoy light, whimsical fairytales, this one is absolutely for you! Deep, complicated books are my favorite, but I think we all sometimes need those little breaths of sunshine. Paper Crowns is just that.
So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a copy and read it. Yes, right now. Shoo. I’m not kidding. Why are you still here? Go, go, go!
Without a doubt this one gets a. . .
5 out of 5 stars
SO. Are you going to read this now? (Obviously.) Do you think
we could all use a lighter read from time to time? What do you
think of whimsical fairytales? (I ADORE them to my very core.)