I started the Upon A Marigold series at age 11 and recently finished the last book. With only three books, it’s insane that I’ve been reading this series for more than half of my life, but the final one only came out in the past couple years (and it’s been sitting on my shelf for months…).
This middle grade series follows the story of Christian, a poor orphan who was raised by a kindly troll named Ed, and Princess Marigold, the clever royal young lady with a royal curse. Their story is adorable and tons of fun and these books are gold - like everything that Jean Ferris writes. However, like every series, it has it’s pros and cons.
- STARTS WONDERFULLY - Once Upon A Marigold is one of the most delightful things I’ve ever read. At a young age, this book hooked me in a way that few books did and it’s consistently been a book I’ve loved coming back to.
- DELIGHTFUL CHARACTERS - Ferris is the champion of writing quirky and memorable characters. From the misspoken metaphors of Ed to the elephant raising of Wendall the Wizard, the characters in this book are wonderful. Marigold and Christian are, of course, the stars and even they have a precious quirkiness that can’t be beat.
- EXCELLENT BALANCE OF ROMANCE AND ADVENTURE -Many books leans too far towards romance and make the adventure completely secondary. Other books completely forgo the romance. This series balances everything well and makes it fun and exciting while still making you root for your favorite couples.
- MIDDLE GRADE SERIES THAT ADULTS CAN ENJOY - This is a huge deal in me picking middle grade books. If I’m going to be recommending it to a kid I know, I need to be prepared to read it with them and/or hear about it endlessly. This series is a perfect one to enjoy in tandem with your favorite middle grade reader.
- THE PERFECT GATEWAY INTO FERRIS’ BOOKS - This is honestly how most people I know got into Jean Ferris. She has been one of my favorite authors throughout my lifetime and I still reread her stories periodically. If someone reads and loves this series, be assured that there’s plenty more from Ferris to read.
- GETS PROGRESSIVELY SILLIER - The series starts kind of silly and it’s delightful. However, each book seems to get more ridiculous and bizarre and it’s not necessarily in a good way. By the final book, I was more concerned with finishing the series than I was with enjoying the story. It felt like Ferris began to talk down to the reader more as the book progressed - almost as if the final book had been written for a much younger audience. The tone of the first book is far superior to that of the next two.
I highly recommend this series for middle grade readers and anyone who likes quirky fantasy stories. It is still one of the most hilarious and delightful series I’ve ever read and everyone should give it a chance.
Have you read this series? What are your thoughts on it? Who would you recommend this to?