Summons is the first book in the Fable Rangers series by A.L. Brown. This is a middle grade book that offers a fantasy story with pieces of stories you might think you already know. Twelve-year-old Casey doesn’t think life could get any more unfair. Plans for her special basketball tournament are tossed aside by her sister’s wedding plans. All she wants is an escape, but she never imagined she’d be swept away to a world of Mother Goose rhymes, fairy tales, stories of Arabian Nights, and oh, by the way, all but one fairy godmother has been kidnapped. Casey learns she’s been summoned as the Fable Ranger to lead the search and rescue of the missing wish-makers. But she’s not the hero they want. In the world of fairy tales, damsels aren’t meant to swoop in and save the day. Now all Casey wants is to go home, but the veil between worlds is on lockdown. Taking fate into her own hands, she embarks on an airship flight to find the phoenix tears that can open her way home. Her journey would’ve gone as smooth as the perfect layup if it weren’t for that pesky bounty the evil Dovetail has placed on her head. If Casey fails, the Arabian Nights will disappear forever and she will be trapped in a world unraveling one fairy tale at a time.
Summons is a story that many readers will relate to on some level, and enjoy. Casey feels that life is unfair, and that she is the one making most of the changes and sacrifices in her family. When she is sucked into a world of stories through a book she borrowed from her father she finds herself facing much bigger problems than anything she faced at home. Fairy godmothers have been kidnapped, stories are unravelling, and danger is lurking around every corner. When the people she is called to help see that they got a young girl rather than the trained man they expected everyone’s plans are changed. Dealing with gender biases and working to save an entire world, not to mention trying to secure a way home, Casey not only proves herself but comes to some important realizations along the way. The story was fast paced with good character development for both Casey and the main supporting characters. World building was also p[aced well, although the opening with Casey’s family made me wonder if I had missed something prior to the start ofd this story.