By Cynthia Ayala
At Ever After High, everyone is expected to sign the Storybook of Legends, pledging to follow in their fairytale parent’s footsteps, that is until Ravel Queen came along. Now the school is separated between those Royals that want to fulfill their destinies and the Rebels who want to figure out their own futures. In the wake of the madness, magic has infected Ever After High, magic from Wonderland. Now it’s up to Kitty Cheshire, Cedar Wood, Lizzie Hearts, and the Madeline Hatter to save the day and everyone they love.
Published on August 26, 2014, by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, A Wonderlandiful World by Shannon Hale is the final novel in the Ever After High: Storybook of Legends series for young readers where fairy tales aren’t just tales, they are a rite of passage for young princes, princesses, and evil queens.
This novel is very different from the previous two that followed Apple White and Raven Queen on their journey to fulfill and defy their destinies. Instead, this novel follows some of the minor characters who have been present in the novel but haven’t had the chance to shine. Hale gives them the chance here in this novel. That makes it such a strong novel in its own right and makes it a stand far apart from the previous novels in the series. In fact, it almost seems as though it wasn’t meant to be a direct sequel yet that’s what happened.
It took one even from the previous novel and the overall theme of choice and friendship to whip out this fantastical novel that really is about identity and friendship. Much of the Wonderlandian’s are lost, unable to really be who they are since their home was poisoned by wild magic, turning Wonderland into a perilous unlivable mad house. So for these characters, specifically Lizzie Hearts, there is little they can do to prepare for their fairy tales which they cannot actually live out. This connects to the beginning of the whole series centered around following destiny and signing a book because it’s tradition and keeps the fairy tales “intact”. However for the Wonderlandian’s that is close to impossible and this novel touches upon that, bringing it to life and really gives a deeper look at the sort of sacrifices these characters have to make in order to take on the roles of their parents. It’s very stressful, especially for these characters who are a long way from home with no way to get back and separated from people they love.
Because of all of that, the story was so rich and Madeline Hatter is easily the best character in the series, especially as she takes on a new role in the novel. The style of the story is imaginative, it’s tension driven, character driven and fun to read. Hale has concluded the story without closing the door on the series. There is so much more for her to explore as a writer, and as a storyteller, she knows how to create wonder, she knows how to bring characters to life wonderfully. (★★★★☆ | A)