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Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles) [Paperback]

Alex Flinn
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

16 April 2013 Kendra Chronicles
Kendra Hilferty, the witch who curses Kyle Kingsbury in Beastly, tells about her immortal existence how she discovered she was a witch and the various ways she has used her powers to help people throughout the centuries. (Unfortunately her attempts have often backfired.) As it turns out, Kendra has actually had a hand in "Hansel and Gretel," "The Princess and the Pea," and "The Little Mermaid" but these are not the fairy tales you think you know! Kendra s reminiscences are wrapped around a real-time version of "Cinderella," except the ugly stepsister is the good guy. With dark twists, hilarious turns, and unexpected endings, Bewitching is a contemporary read for fairy-tale lovers, fantasy fans, and anyone looking for more Alex Flinn. Praise for the #1 New York Times bestselling Beastly: Teens will LOL. They will also find their preoccupations with looks, status and pride explored thoroughly. Kirkus Reviews Praise for A Kiss in Time: Charming. ALA Booklist Praise for Cloaked: Flinn cleverly plays on some lesser-known fairy tales to make this book a fun, romantic adventure with likable characters. Rapid action and amusing situations make it a quick read that will easily entice even reluctant readers. School Library Journal
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Teen (16 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062024167
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062024169
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13.8 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 914,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Alex Flinn loves fairy tales and is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Beastly, a spin on Beauty and the Beast that was named a VOYA Editor s Choice and an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Beastly is now a major motion picture starring Vanessa Hudgens! She also wrote A Kiss in Time, a modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and Cloaked, a humorous fairy tale mash-up, as well as Breathing Underwater, Breaking Point, Nothing to Lose, Fade to Black, and Diva. Alex lives in Miami with her family. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining 21 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fun novel that puts an fun spin on some old fairy tales. A lovely bit of escapism and entertainment.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  71 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars first installment of the Kendra Chronicles has some interesting, if unsatisfying, retellings of classic fairy tales 8 Mar 2012
By Dark Faerie Tales - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: This first installment of the Kendra Chronicles has some interesting, if unsatisfying, retellings of classic fairy tales.

Opening Sentence: If you read fairy tales, and who doesn't, you might believe there are witches all over the place-witches baking children into gingerbread, making princesses sleep for hundreds of years, even turning normal boys into hideous beasts to teach them a lesson.

The Review:

Mis-marketing might be the biggest problem with this book. After reading the synopsis you might think this story is going to be about Kendra, the badass witch we've met in Alex Flinn's other books. After the first 45 pages, it's not. It becomes a montage of Kendra's other curses and spells gone wrong. Some of them are pretty funny, if not clever, but with the exception of Lisette and Emma's story nothing was very engaging. We weren't given enough time to like the characters, much less care about them. I think the series is supposed to be more about Kendra's life, with little snippets provided in each book. Personally, I don't like it. I don't really like Kendra in this, and though it's supposedly her story, she's not the main character. After the short story about her beginnings as a witch at the start of the story, we really only get paragraphs from her perspective.

Hansel and Gretel transforms into Kendra's own story, but other's featured are Little Mermaid, Princess and the Pea, and most prominently Cinderella. Lisette and Emma's Cinderella story is broken up between Kendra's retelling of her other fairy tale mishaps. Except here, Kendra epically fails at playing fairy godmother-to Emma, the step-sister. Both girls are in high school, and Emma's lived with her step-father since she was three. Lisette's mother just died, and her father takes her in. He's really sweet, loves Emma like she was his own, but is very excited to have Lisette living with them. Emma's excited to-at first. She's always wanted a sister, she's never really had a best friend. Emma is a great narrator for this upside-down fairy tale. She's quirky, loving, wants to see the best in people, and she's really smart.

Kendra, on the other hand, is not a character you end up feeling sympathetic towards, though Flinn certainly tried. She's just a snarky centuries old witch who chooses to relive high school and meddle in other people's lives-no matter how horrendously her previous exploits have gone. She's funny and insightful, but she's also vengeful and a little stupid-not a good combination. But as I said, she's not the main character; she's just retelling all her exploits to the reader.

The conversation of this book really kept it moving for me, because honestly everything else was a little blah or rage inducing. The blah factor comes in because we don't get a chance to like the characters. I really liked Beastly, Flinn's Beauty and the Beast book, and would probably have liked her retellings of these stories if they had been less two-dimensional, if she had more pages to develop the characters. The Little Mermaid retelling happens post-Titanic sinking chaos, which was so cool, until she reached the end of Doria's story and I wanted to strangle something or someone. There was nothing technically wrong with it, which my grammar-oriented self appreciated greatly. It's the narrative format that makes it easy to read, and I did like Emma a lot because she sounded like the kind of girl I'd have been friends with in high school.

This brings me to how this book made me feel, which was horrendous. The theme throughout the novel was "If you don't have a boy, your life isn't worth anything." I wish I could say I was exaggerating. The only character who isn't portrayed as pathetic without a boyfriend is Kendra-who is described as pathetically lonely. So while this book fulfills the characteristics of a romance, it is horrendously degrading to teenage girls. It was a really easy read, and it was a relatively short book, but even the fairy tale aspect-which I usually adore-isn't enough to make me recommend this book.

This Kendra Chronicles Series:

1. Bewitching

FTC Advisory: Harper Teen provided me with a copy of Bewitching. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Witchy 15 Feb 2012
By Kale - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Alex Flinn doesn't disappoint with another one of her unique interpretations. Bewitching is an exciting start to a promising new series combining the chronicles of a beloved character's past and future adventures along with the modernized fairy tales Flinn fans have come to love.

The mysterious and magically mischievous Kendra steps out of the Beastly shadows and into the spotlight.

At least sort of. The main story line mostly involves Emma and her newly acquired stepsister Lisette. Emma's a total daddy's girl but Lisette isn't the sweet lovable new addition she pretends to be. Lovely Lisette is slowly stealing away everything Emma holds dear, and when she finally goes too far Emma enlists the help of a certain teenage witch.

But Kendra knows all too well that spells very often backfire. There's always a flaw in every plan. Emma needs to be mindful of what she truely wants.

The patent pending Flinn spin is in full tilt throughout Bewitching giving plenty of classics like Hansel and Gretal, The Little Mermaid, and Cinderella a fresh fictional face. Bewitching started out as a coming of age story about Kendra and her family, and seemed to drag a little. I became more interested in Kendra's current project Emma and Lisette. At times I wanted to skip the flashbacks and get back to the main story line but just went with the author's desired flow. I found the broken up story kind of stop and go, but once you get over the red light green light structure of the story lines, you find the layout makes sense and every plot enjoyable.

Bewitching is layered like a black and white cookie aligning the lighter and darker parts of Kendra's life side by side giving readers a complete picture of the flawed character. Little vignettes of past exploits depicting Kendra's magical mishaps were fun and interesting ways of interpreting history with fairy tales. Flinn paints her heroine as a good witch who isn't exactly good at being a witch, since her best intentions usually go awry with ill and unforeseen consequences. But by the end I don't see Kendra as being bad at her craft. I think the linchpin of a successful spell isn't dependent on the caster but by the person it's meant to help, because ultimately they chose the outcome of the spell.

Curl up in a cozy corner and prepare yourself for an extended stay because Bewitching is the kind of book you'll want to keep reading and finish with a smile on your face.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Live To Read 16 Aug 2012
By Chels - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Another amazing fairy tale from Author Alex Flinn. This is a book to watch out for come February! The reader is introduced to Kendra Hillferty, a young girl with too much responsibility on her shoulders. Her entire family is suffering from the plague, one of the only member of her family left alive is her brother. Kendra doesn't know it yet, but she is a witch. She makes this astounding discovery when she heals her brother who was at the brink of death. Knowing that she will be charged and tried as a witch, Kendra takes her brother and runs.

Kendra doesn't seem to have very good luck. She finds a gingerbread house that appears to be empty. Starving, her brother and her decide to stop and eat. The reader will likely know what happens after the witch who owns the gingerbread home comes back... Kendra's bad luck doesn't end there. She attempts to help a mermaid, an attempt that goes horribly wrong; she tries to help a prince, but she is banished instead. Finally, Kendra has found a stable-ish life. She goes to high school and stands out, but is relatively normal as compared to her prior self. It is there that she meets a potential friend and someone she could maybe help. She knows how her "helping" has turned out over the centuries and is understandably wary.

Kendra's character is different. She is certainly not like most main characters a reader will find in other books. She has "personality" and isn't one to be pushed around. Clever, enigmatic, and with a sense of humor, the reader will enjoy Kendra's narration of events and past stories. The other secondary characters are just as interesting, from all walks of life and status levels. The events were fast-paced and exciting, these stories were not necessarily predictable. This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.

*Complimentary copy received for review, this in no way affects my opinion*
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected 7 Dec 2012
By wRiTiNgFiEn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In Beastly Kendra was one of my favorite characters. I was looking forward to getting a chance to read Bewitching and discovering more about Kendra's story and how she came to be witch. While there were certain aspects of the book that were interesting and entertaining, the book fell short of actually delivering to the same height of enjoyment as Beastly.

I had thought Bewitching would solely focus on Kendra's backstory and how she manages to keep to getting herself involved in other people's lives and what happens when she does. The first third of the book does deal with Kendra specifically. Kendra is left an orphan in her small village, her family having all died of the black plague except for her younger brother Charlie, and she is desperately seeking for a way to help her brother survive since he has become sick as well. She discovers her dormant powers one evening and knows she cannot stay within the village. Even before the plague, the village was keeping a close eye on everyone and casting claims of witchcraft on anyone who did anything remotely suspicious so Kendra packs up her brother and heads out of town. Except soon she is entangled in mess involving a gingerbread house, a wicked witch who likes to eat children and learns she is more powerful then she realized.

At the beginning of the first third of the book, I was invested into Kendra's story. The pain and loneliness she was endearing from losing her family. The tragedy of her world falling apart and the desperation she feels to save the only remaining family member she has left. Right from the start the reader is rooting for Kendra to find love and a happy ending from the heartbreak she has had to go through so early in her life. But then Kendra's story turns rather boring. She loses the intimacy she shares with the reader and starts to go through the motion of repetitively describing what's going on until she finally manages to become free of the evil witch.

Then the book fast forwards to the present but doesn't focus on Kendra. The story turns to Emma and Lisette. A modern take on the story of Cinderella, a bad take at that. It takes the span of the entire novel before the story reveals HOW and WHY Kendra decided to involve herself in Emma's world. Emma's mother got remarried and her father discovers he had a daughter, Lisette, and moves her into their home after Lisette's mother dies. Emma thinks it's her chance to finally get the sister she's always wanted but things don't go according to plan. Emma is the definition of a weak female lead. She is one of the WORSE I have ever read. She is dull, boring, lacks both courage and self-esteem, and let's everyone treat her life crap. She never stands up for herself and thinks the only way she'll be complete is if the popular girls like her and if Lisette approves of her finally. Emma spends the entire novel moping about how unfair her life is and never made any actual effort to reclaim her relationship with her father, her friends, her boyfriend. She just let's Lisette take everything from her and only groans about it until Kendra decides to step in to help her. Even when Kendra does, there's isn't even much magic performed. The story lacked depth and that bang factor.

Lisette was supposed to be portrayed as the evil stepsister who comes in and destroys Emma's life and how poor Emma has no control over it. The problem was that Lisette wasn't really so much evil as she was pathetic. She only gets away with making Emma's life so miserable because Emma let's her. Emma could have told her father the truth and her boyfriend but let's herself be intimated by Lisette. Emma is constantly reminding the reader that she allows Lisette to slide because they are "sisters" and she finally has the sister she's always wanted. Lisette is bitter, angry, petty, and shallow. She blames Emma for the life she had but really it was her mother's fault.

Then there's the romance within the story. I did like the way Emma's relationship with her crush Warner developed. They started off as friends which was cute and they develop a close relationship. The problem was there were holes within their relationship and what ends up happening between Lisette, Warner and Emma was BEYOND ridiculous! Warner ends up being used as a puppet within the plot. He doesn't possess his own thoughts and is easily manipulated. He was just as pathetic as Lisette and Emma. Whatever sweetness Warner possessed was quickly thrown out the window and his personality turned one dimensional. The romance in the book was shallow and had no real life lesson. Okay, well, that's not true: the lesson was that a girl will discover how beautiful she is and how amazing she is when a hot, rich guy walks into her life and tells her she is. *rolls her eyes*

There are retellings of the Little Mermaid and the Princess and the Pea in-between Emma and Lisette's story. But both retellings are lackluster at best and boring at worse. The retelling of the Little Mermaid was probably the worse retelling of the two. I can't even remember what the girl's name was who played the mermaid. She has no common sense and is so gullible. She also falls in love at first sight and is willing to give up her entire life to be with a human she doesn't even know much about. Then what happens when she finally finds the guy was just so stupid I couldn't take it. The retelling of the Princes and the Pea was just boring and the prince lacked any spine I couldn't understand why anyone would want to be with him. I didn't really understand the need to place both those retellings within the book. Kendra was barely present and when she showed her so called magic there wasn't much of it.

I did like Kendra though. She was sarcastic and amusing. But so much of the book covered retellings and Emma and Lisette's stories that after the first third of the story there isn't much else to discover about Kendra. It was disappointing not to get to see her powers and the depth she could really go with them. Or to discover where exactly her powers came from and whatever happened to her brother after she helped him survive. Kendra isn't as much of a mystery but there still isn't known too much about her character other than the fact that she gets involved in people's lives even though it doesn't always go well. Other than that Kendra isn't seen or heard from much throughout the book.

Bewitching had moments were it did deliver. The writing was well done in certain parts and the romance between Warner and Emma started off in a really cute and sweet way. Kendra's short chapters were pretty entertaining and amusing. But there was nothing really memorable about the book (other than how boring it was). There was too much repetition in Emma and Lisette's story which made a barely existing plot and there were no likeable characters outside of Kendra. The pacing was choppy, starting off well then progressing excruciatingly slow. The characterization had no real build up since every character came off without depth or dimension. The various scenarios within each of the retellings as well as Emma and Lisette story didn't always work because there wasn't enough build up.

Bewitching could have been good if the story would have shown more of what Kendra could do and how she managed to find the people whose lives she gets involved with but it wasn't able to meet expectations.

[...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Alex Flinn! 14 Feb 2012
By Amanda Welling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
First Impressions: I was thrilled to find out I would be receiving Bewitching for review! I am a HUGE Alex Flinn fan and I love pretty much everything that she writes especially Cloaked and Beastly. Needless to say, I was dying to sink into this book and get lost in yet another wonderful creation from this author. I think that Alex is one of the best authors out right now when it comes to retelling fairy tales and I was excited to see what she would do with The Little Mermaid and Cinderella, which were promised to be in this book.

****Spoiler Alert!*****

First 50 Pages: I thought that the first couple of chapters started out a bit slow for my liking, but it quickly picked up with its pace. We start the book by learning about how Kendra first realized that she had magical powers and how her powers were able to improve. The setting is during the Black Plague and her entire family has passed away, with the exception of her little brother, Charlie. Charlie is about the die and Kendra is desperate to save him, so she seeks the help of the town witch, Lucinda. Lucinda has around fled town for fear of being hanged as the witch who brought the Plague to their town. Kendra goes into Lucinda's garden and a crow appears guiding her to the right herbs to save her brother.

When Kendra arrives back at home, she somehow knows the right magical words to save her brother and what to do with the herbs. The next morning, Charlie no longer has the plague and they are forced to flee their home for fear of rebuttal from the remaining townspeople.

When Kendra and Charlie leave in search of a new village, they are tired and go to bed hungry and alone. When they wake up, there is a smell of gingerbread in the air, and Kendra spots a house made of gingerbread not far from where they had slept. Kendra thought that she somehow made the house appear as food for her and Charlie, but a witch shows up and catches them eating her house. This is obviously a play on the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, and the witch even cooks children into her gingerbread fence posts. Kendra tries to play nice with the witch, and she is the one who teaches Kendra everything she knows. When the timing is right, Kendra and Charlie devise a plan to escape from the witch, and Charlie ends up pushing the witch into her own oven which kills her. Soon after, the townspeople come and "kill" Kendra by hanging her, but she doesn't die because the only way a witch can be killed is by fire. Charlie has fled and Kendra never sees him again.

Plot: All of this happens within a few chapters and I think it moved a bit too quickly. I would have liked more detail on Kendra's time with the witch and more background on Kendra and how her powers grew. After the Hansel and Gretel remix, the rest of the story bounces between present day Kendra introducing other events that she has had a hand in creating, and stories told by other characters. For instance, a large majority of the book is a retelling of Cinderella, but is told from the stepsister's point of view and it is set in modern day Miami. Kendra throws in her two-cents here and there, but it is mostly Emma (the step-sister) who is telling the story. I guess I was expecting this book to be more about Kendra and it kind of felt like a bunch of fairytale short-stories with Kendra as the narrator for in between. However, even though that was kind of disappointing, I really, really, loved the stories that were included in this book.

My favorite hands down was the retelling of Cinderella. I loved what Alex Flinn did with the story and how she made it entirely her own. The same goes for The Princess and the Pea and The Little Mermaid. I won't give any more spoilers about these because they were honestly the best parts of this book. The author definitely shines once the stories start to roll in and the rest of the book was a breeze to read and very not-boring at all.

Final Thoughts: I think this one is at the top of my favorite books written by Alex Flinn. It was really entertaining and it was nice to find out some more information about my favorite Beastly character. This is a must-read for any fan of the author and for people who enjoy fairy tales. It was magical and I had a difficult time putting it back down once I got through the first couple of chapters. I can't wait to find out what Alex tackles next!
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