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Review: Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
3 Stars: A Good Read
Hardback: 314 Pages
Publication: September 13, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Princess Wisdom, known as Dizzy, longs for a life of adventure far beyond the staid old kingdom of Montagne.

Tips, a soldier, longs to keep his true life secret from his family.

Fortitude, an orphaned maid, longs only for Tips.

These three passionate souls might just attain their dreams while preserving Montagne from certain destruction, if only they can tolerate each other long enough to come up with a plan. Tough to save the world when you can't even be in the same room together.

Magic, cunning, and one very special cat join forces in this hilarious, extraordinary tale by the author of Dairy Queen and Princess Ben. An incredibly creative tale told with diaries, memoirs, encyclopedia entries, letters, biographies, even a stage play, all woven together into a grand adventure.

Wisdom's Kiss is an innovative story told in an unconventional fairy-tale manner. Strange, no? Princess Wisdom, better known as Dizzy, yearns for adventure. Chambermaid Trudy becomes Lady Fortitude, but her love for her childhood friend Tips still burns. What she doesn’t know is that Tips is keeping secrets. That’s not all. The story is told from eight different perspectives, its sources ranging from letters to encyclopedias to straight narration. At first, it’s charming in a whimsical manner, and it rounds out the plot. However, it gets tiresome switching perspectives every couple pages.

I do like how we get a feel for more characters through the multiple perspectives. Rather than rounding out the plot, however, the multiple perspectives ended up making it shallower, as the brevity of the time spent with each perspective in Wisdom’s Kiss prevented me from getting the depth that I look for in YA books. With the exception of braver teen readers, I feel that middle grade students will appreciate Wisdom's Kiss more, provided that they don’t mind the unconventional format.

As I mentioned at the start of my review, Wisdom's Kiss is not your typical fairy-tale story. It is about falling in love and growing up. If you are looking for a magical romance, you’re looking in the wrong place. Murdock tells of the harsh reality of love and growing up. If you love realistic fairy tales, then give this a shot. I myself enjoyed reading Wisdom’s Kiss and found the realistic romance refreshing.. If you’re still looking for Prince Charming, however, you might want to postpone picking up a copy of Wisdom's Kiss.

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An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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