In an attempt to escape from the turmoil of her home, Posy hides in the library. She begins reading and wakes to find herself trapped within a story. The king and queen treat her as their daughter, but the king’s advisor and the prince know she is an imposter. Posy simply wants to return home, and the only way to do that is to find the real princess and bring her home.
Posy embarks on the journey to find Princess Evanthe, but she soon learns that treachery runs deep within the kingdom. This quest sends her and her companions outside the plot, and if any of them should die, they will not reappear when the next reader begins the story. It quickly becomes clear that to rescue the princess and save her friends, Posy must find the Author and speak to him.
Though this is a story with strong threads of symbolism, I really liked that the author resisted the temptation to have the story play out as a direct allegory to the Christian story. I liked that it was more unpredictable and subtle. The suspenseful elements of looming war and betrayal keep the story moving quickly while the budding romance between Posy and Prince Kyran is really sweet. In the tradition of stories that take a contemporary character to another world, Willis rises to the challenge of engrossing her readers in another world. The simplicity of the story makes it a great read for late elementary-aged readers while the romance and more subtle character relationships make it a good choice for middle and high school readers, too.
Posy enters a story in which characters have the choice to follow the Plot set by the Author or to rebel against it. Some characters do not believe the Author even exists, and others have set their own wills above that of the Author. This easily parallels the Christian worldview, in which we make choices about whether to follow the precepts outlined in the Bible or to deny those and live a different way. The Author appears as a character in his own story, the way that God appears in unexpected places in our lives.
Posy witnesses battles between humans and other creatures. The scenes are described without any gory detail.