I have been waiting not so patiently to read Mary Waibel’s debut young adult reverse fairy tale retelling since she told me about it months ago. I finally got my chance and all I can say is…it was definitely worth the wait.
But I found one problem with the book. Quest of the Hart
isn’t a story. It isn’t a fairy tale. It isn’t a young adult novel. Why? Because…It’s empowerment on paper.
The story Mary weaved was not only entertaining, interesting and engaging, but also empowering for girls. Instead of the prince saving the helpless princess, the princess was the one who saved the prince. This type of message is so important for today’s generation of young women, and Mary delivered it flawlessly.
At the beginning of the tale, Princess Kaylee is shy, quiet, and seems weak, like a person would imagine a pampered princess would be. Although, she wasn’t spoiled or mean-spirited, she was used to being waited on. But that stopped during her quest to save Prince Devlin. There was no one there to wait on her. She had to learn to fend for herself…“I am not your maid, Princess. You need to learn how to do this on your own.”
As the story progressed and the stakes rose, Kaylee had to step-up and face things that were definitely way out of her comfort zone. She had to push herself to the limit and beyond to complete her quest and save her prince, and ultimately the kingdom. The best thing about this was I got to go through this with her. I could feel her unease in situations, her fear, her confusion when things didn’t work how they were supposed to, and I could feel her sense of accomplishment each time she met a goal, her strength and tenacity building in the face of the obstacles before her. I watched her grow…I watched her become empowered. And that is the message young adult readers of Quest of the Hart are going to get…you can do it. You are strong enough. You are empowered.
Beyond the message held in the story—which is what grabbed me the most even though story itself is very interesting, the pacing is perfect and the characters are well developed—Mary’s descriptions were spot on. I could see the imagery. She did an excellent job of drawing me into the scene with the characters. Descriptions like…“Soon the trees surrounded them, stifling all light and sound, save for the thunder of their horses’ hooves. The scent of pine filled the air as they rode into the grove of conifers.”
Descriptions like that really place me right in the middle of the action with the characters. I love it when an author can do that. Make the room fall away and replace it with the smell of pine and the thunder of horses’ hooves.Bottom Line:
I really enjoyed Quest of the Hart.
I think it was an entertaining story. A fresh take on a popular fairy tale. I loved the idea of reversing the roles of hero and heroine—I think that was brilliant, and, like I’ve said, it empowers young women. I won’t hesitate to read more of Mary’s work. She did a fantastic job with her debut novel. I’m anxious to see what she has in store for her sophomore book!My Rating: 5 of 5 stars—I loved it!