When Savannah Rose, the young protagonist bullied by classmates in this fantasy tale, offers to help a fairy in distress, she is entangled in an adventure complete with magic, intrigue, and even a royal kidnapping.
Savannah soon realizes that Peri, the seemingly kind fairy that whisks her off to another planet called Justia, is actually quite bossy and rude and doesn’t seem to care much for Savannah’s wishes at all. Peri is convinced that Savannah may be a long lost heir to the royal family of Justia. By bringing Savannah to the queen, she hopes to get the help she and her three fairy friends need to return to their own land. Although Peri’s plan seems to be on track, the queen suddenly goes missing, and Savannah’s status as an heir puts the young girl in danger. Savannah, the fairies, and those loyal to the queen must come together to find the queen before the monarchy is taken over by her villainous brother.
Overall, Sandra Robey’s greatest strength is her storytelling. Although the plot of Savannah Rose starts off a bit slowly, Robey’s focus on the circumstances surrounding the queen’s kidnapping draw the reader in, and the race to protect Savannah and find the queen give the latter portion of the book a strong sense of excitement.
Robey’s approach to her characters is particularly interesting. To introduce secondary characters, she often dedicates an entire chapter, switching to that character’s narrative voice and remaining in third person. While this system of character introduction provides valuable background information, in some cases it feels completely unnecessary.
The book’s most significant weakness is the underdevelopment of its main character. Savannah is essentially always in a passive role, and when she finally shows some development, it feels contrived.
While giving characters multiple layers of personality often adds depth in fiction, in this particular work it simply makes characters, particularly Peri, feel unrealistic or unlikable, although this is not the case with every secondary character.
The target audience for Savannah Rose is nine- to twelve-year-old readers, especially those who have an interest in fairy tales. Despite faltering on some elements of execution, Robey has created a world that may inspire readers to seek out the next installment, should her plans for a sequel come to fruition.
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