Won’t cast a spell on you

SFX - - Reviews - Irena Brignull co-wrote the screen­play to The Box­trolls and script-edited Shake­speare In Love.

So you’re a pow­er­ful witch and you’re miffed be­cause it looks as though your lit­tle sis­ter is about to give birth to a baby who will one day be­come Queen – when you want your own, not very gifted daugh­ter to nab the crown in­stead. What do you do? You cast a se­cret spell to swap your sis­ter’s sprog for a hu­man one, of course. Years later, the two obliv­i­ous girls meet as teenagers and worlds col­lide... and the ad­di­tion of a hand­some young man con­fuses mat­ters.

It’s not the most orig­i­nal of premises, but we could over­look that if only the writ­ing wasn’t so stuffed full of un­nec­es­sary, flow­ery ver­biage. For in­stance, there’s rarely a “she said” – on one sam­ple page we get “she snapped”, “in­voked”, “huffed”, “spat” and even “sparked”. Talk about dis­tract­ing. Oc­ca­sion­ally the same scene is writ­ten twice, from dif­fer­ent POVs, when there’s ab­so­lutely no need for it. Plus, after a promis­ing start, the book slides into a mess of gooey ro­man­tic non­sense. After an­other sis­ter gets in­volved we end up with three teenagers in love with one bloke, so it’s hard to care who ends up with him: you just want them all to get a grip. Some­times less re­ally is more. Jayne Nel­son

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