Book Review: Charmed by Jen Calonita

Charmed is the second book in the Fairy Tail Reform School series by Jen Calonita. I highly recommend reading the first book, Flunked, before reading this one (mainly because it was a fun read). While getting the full picture always makes for a better read, I think new readers could catch up to speed if they want to, but I do not suggest it.

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia's most notorious pickpocket, and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun. Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her. As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don't laugh) to unmask a spy before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom. Dealing with the pros and cons of fame, and the trouble they bring make everything more complicated.

Charmed is a good follow up to Flunked, but not a great one. I liked the amount of conflict about friendship, social expectations, and the issues that being well-known can bring. I like that not every character fit in the mold that they had been cast and proved themselves to be better than assumed. I did not like that I figured out who the mole was so quickly, and how frustrated I was that characters in the book did not catch on. I was annoyed with the main character, but that was because she was acting just like a teenage girl would in her position. Gilly had to balance the good feelings of being admired with the friendships she had forged and her own moral code. She did not always make the right choices, but who does. I did like the realisticness of that, even as it made me cringe more than once. Unfortunately not all the main players got much development, at least not as much as I would have liked. That being said, it was still a good, solid read. However, my expectations and hopes for this series were very high and I think I set myself up for the frustration and disappointment that I felt.

Charmed is a fun sequel, but I do not think it was as good as the first. There was enough action and twists to keep me turning pages, but it did not meet my now high expectations for the author. 

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