Marabel and the Book of Fate
Wikimedia list of "10 Thrilling Fantasy Novels for Middle Grade Readers"
Cover art and interior decorations by Sara Gianassi
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Remarkably timely with its exploration of feminism and social justice, this fantasy title empowers as much as it entertains. . . . Marabel’s journey helps her realize she’s more than an overshadowed sibling and that outsiders may not be the strangers she’s always feared. By acknowledging her strengths and accepting her weaknesses, she is able to rescue her brother and unite the kingdoms through working alongside those who previously opposed her. . . . This subversive hero’s quest champions the concepts of gender equality and embracing differences while also delivering an engrossing, laugh-filled adventure.
Funny and exciting, Marabel and the Book of Fate is a hit.
[The] fantasy kingdom is in many ways a whimsical version of the modern world, and the tongue-in-cheek reinterpretation of contemporary politics adds a fresh layer to the palace intrigue and adventure.
— The Horn Book
On the surface, Marabel and the Book of Fate is a thrilling adventure story about a sister who wants to save her brother. But the underlying message of the book is what makes Marabel’s story spectacular. Throughout this whimsical, thoroughly contemporary fairy tale, Barrett inspires young readers to consider the importance of social acceptance, free will, and leadership—and the value of examining their own social norms. Against the backdrop of adventure, she empowers readers to challenge oppression and systemic injustice.
Feminism and fairy tales combine in this first of an enchanting new middle grade series from author Tracy Barrett. According to the Book of Fate, the predictor of everything in Magikos, 13-year-old Marabel’s twin brother, Marco, is the Chosen One who is destined to save their realm. But one night when Marco is kidnapped by an evil queen, it is spirited and courageous Marabel who runs to his rescue. Journeying outside the castle walls for the first time, Marabel will have to face unforeseen challenges on the quest to find her brother in this funny and heartfelt fantasy tale.
— B&N Kids Blog "7 Exciting New Middle Grade Novels"
The story considers worthy, timely themes in Marabel’s realization that the creatures labeled “Evils” are only different, not wicked, and in her growing self-empowerment as she faces down danger and fear.
— Kirkus Reviews
Marabel doesn’t question the Book of Fate or the wisdom of her father and his kingdom, until she goes to another land and sees how the other side lives. Strong themes of questioning what’s always been considered a given, and being open to another way of seeing things make this book stand out, while its general plot of “princess saving someone else” and “kid finding out she’s actually not as ‘normal’ as she thought” makes this a neat addition to any fantasy-fan’s library.
[P]its fate against free will, touches on prejudice and patriarchy, and has fun with fairy tale tropes.
— Publishers Weekly
If you’re looking for a light-hearted fantasy story, this title fits the bill. Marabel, her servant friend, and a unicorn with a big personality, leave their realm to rescue Marabel’s twin brother from their evil queen aunt in a neighboring kingdom full of magical creatures. They’ll be captured by giants, imprisoned by the queen, but eventually escape with a new understanding of the situation in both countries. A situation that Marabel might be able to fix.
— Imagination Soup
Marabel treks across kingdoms to find her brother, a journey that teaches her about friendship and fate, good and evil, and that sometimes a different perspective can help you save the day. For fans of humorous fairy tale classics like Ella Enchanted, and for anyone who is tired of waiting around for their day in the sun.
— Fiction Addiction
[O]ne of those writers that can tap into younger fantasy worlds with skill and aplomb.
— Elizabeth Bird, Fuse #8 (SLJ)
Young readers will enjoy the modern day references, such as a video game called “Impcraft” and bracelets that accept phone calls that are mixed with common fairy tale themes.
— School Library Connection
The scariness was just the right amount and it was perfect in all ways. My favorite part of this book was how brave Marabel was to go on a journey to save her brother. Especially since his being gone could have meant that she would become the leader. Such courage! Such bravery!
— "Emmie Enchanted" (8-year-old blogger at Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them)
Kids who have been reading Princess in Black and need harder reading would like this.
— Bridget and the Books
Being lady-like and being strong do not have to be exclusive. She will never be the damsel in distress— is her own knight in shining armor.
Clever, fun and completely engaging.
— I am, Indeed