First of all, Cliffhanger Warning! This book may be hazardous to your reading satisfaction since it ends with those three dread words: “to be continued.”
Nevertheless, I recommend Storybound for those who enjoy, well, a good story. This one has all the archetypes: the lonely orphan girl, Una, the Hero, Peter, his friend and companion, Sam the Cat, the lady Snow, the evil Tale Master and the Red Enchantress. Una has been Written In to Story, a magic land of book characters without any books of its own to read. The Tale Masters keep all of the books locked away for the protection of Story from the Muses who broke their oath long ago brought havoc upon the land. Una doesn’t know why she’s been Written In or by whom, but she must find out before evil overtakes Story.
The story (or Story) definitely has Christian symbolism and undertones. (“We are only servants. And our charge is to wait for the King’s return,” says one of the most powerful defenders of goodness.) However, the lessons about good and evil are never blatant or preachy or overwhelming to the story. Mostly, it’s just a tale about the power and importance of stories and about the Hero Quest of one young girl and her companions as they find themselves and save the world from destruction.
Recommended for ages 12 and up.
Pages Unbound: “Heroes plot in the night, villains prove kindhearted, and the enemy sometimes turns out to be a friend. The sense of mystery pervading the work will keep readers turning pages long after they should have gone to bed. The only problem with the work is that the sequel is not yet available.”
Books and Quilts: “I was totally immersed in this story. I could hardly put it down. How could there be a world where students trained to become the beloved characters as well as the evil villains in the books I read. Wow.”
Interview with Marissa Burt at The Book Cellar: “Shy, twelve-year-old Una Fairchild is suddenly transported by a mysterious book into the Land of Story, where characters from books train to be cast into a Tale of their own, and Una attends the Perrault Academy while trying to discover who has Written her In and why.”