Broken Wish is the perfect dark fairytale.
The first of a new four-book series from Disney Books, Broken Wish by Julie Dao kicks of The Mirror series with flying colors. Strong women, fateful choices, prejudices, myth and magic will have readers swept off their feet in this Brothers Grimm-esque tale.
Broken Wish is described as a fractured fairytale, which means the feeling of a darker Disney – with an almost Tim Burton-inspired atmosphere – fills the pages from beginning to end. The witch’s warmth is juxtaposed by the ugliness of misconception that floods the local rumor mill. (This comparison reminded me of the dreary land of the living starkly contrasted by the lively, colorful, music-filled underworld in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride. Inverting assumptions is always remarkable.)
‘Family curses start somewhere’ is the tagline and perfectly foreshadows an engaging introduction to Dao’s story. The protagonist-shift in the early chapters was my favorite feature of the book and had me surprised in every good way. I happily encountered many other intriguing twists and turns as I read on and wandered closer to the North Woods.
Baking and blankets; tea, supper and the exchanging of letters fosters a coziness and special friendship between Agnes and Mathilda, and Elva and Mathilda, which transported me to the cottage-filled town of Hanau, Germany in the 1800s – and rallied me to their cause.
But the coziness stops there.
Risky bargains based on unpredictable magic heighten the intensity of an already-dangerous, discriminatory environment. Not only accepting but embracing people who are different from you should not be that hard. It just should be. Not to mention all the wonderful things we can learn from one another… Elva’s wide-eyed optimism and infallible spirit draw you in – you cannot help but care about and vouch for her. She wants the best for her family, friends and the townsfolk. But at what cost?
Change is not so simple when the threat of the gallows looms large. Plus, things are not always what they seem. Heartbreak, rejection and loneliness can only be ousted by hope which hovers just out of reach.
Still, we read on, hoping along with Dao’s inviting characters and looking forward to what books 2, 3 and 4 have in store. If they are anything like Broken Wish, our eyes will be glued to the pages right until the very end.
Broken Wish is currently available for preorder on Amazon. It will be released on October 6, 2020,