Hero by Alethea Kontis
Woodcutter Sisters, bk 2. Harcourt Books, 2013. ISBN
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Fantasy. Fairy tales retold. Romance. Andre Norton Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy (2013), DABWAHA Romance Tournament Nominee for Paranormal/Science Fiction/Fantasy Romance (2014). Saturday Woodcutter believes that she doesn't have any magic, until one day she makes an ocean in her backyard. She sets off on a pirate ship, is kidnapped and finds herself in a witch's den where she meets the strange and unpredictable Peregrine and a chimera. Will she be able to free herself from her mountain prison and return home?
Saturday is a unique heroine who certainly doesn't fit into any of the images that one can associate with fairy tales. She is tough and physically very strong and really wants to be a woodcutter, not a heroine, but she brings all her skills and intelligence as well as some magic to freeing herself and Peregrine from the witch's clutches. Peregrine too is an unusual character and gender stereotypes are turned upside down as he pretends to be a girl to keep the wicked witch away. Romance is in the air of course but it is not the most important aspect of this story.
Kontis has a distinctive take on fairy tales and her characterisation is fabulous. She also has a deft hand with snarky repartee and humorous asides making a most enjoyable read. I really enjoyed Enchanted, the first book in the series, and look forward to reading more in the series, especially as they are about different people and each is a stand-alone story.