Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Escaping Ordinary (Talespinners #2) by Scott Reintgen

Middle School


It’s been a year since Indira rescued the city of Fable and landed a starring role in a story of her own. Now Indira’s ready for a well-earned vacation.
Too bad her advisors have other plans. In preparation for her story’s sequel, Indira has been enrolled in the Hero’s Journey tutorial, a quest designed to teach her how to be a team player. Indira’s assigned crew is a mix of familiar faces and new friends, each hoping to follow in her footsteps into a story.
Indira is ready for this new challenge until someone crashes their quest. The intruder is more powerful than anyone she’s faced before and begins transforming the town of Ordinary into a giant video game. Indira’s team will have to level up and outplay their opponent, or else the world’s most beloved stories might be lost forever.


I jumped right into this book when it came out. I love Fable so much and want to see how the author expands on this world of imagination.


While the first book is a love letter to all things books, this story is a love letter to the writing process and all the details that go into it. I won’t be going into what kind of writing details you’ll find in this book because 1) there are far too many for me to share, and 2) I don’t fully understand all of them. I may be a writer but I don’t know all the nitty gritty details about all the techniques and big words that go into it. Like when I write these reviews I’m not following an outline that someone gave me. I just write what feels right. I think that’s why I struggled so much with writing in school. I wasn’t writing what I wanted to say or how I really felt. I had to write what a teacher wanted me to write so I could get a good grade.


The Hero’s Journey tutorial is based on a common story template, that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, learns a lesson, wins a victory with that newfound knowledge and then returns home a changed person. If this sounds familiar, that’s because this exact narrative template can be found in many different types of works, from ancient myths to many modern heroes of literature, like Harry Potter and Frodo. Ironically, Indira goes through her own Hero’s Journey in the first book in the series.


I recommend learning about all the steps of the Hero’s Journey template before reading this book so you’ll understand all the steps Indira and her team go through. For one thing, you’ll understand why the town the team begins in is called Ordinary. If you want to learn more, I have included a link to a YouTube Ted-Ed Talk and a Writing 101 Article.


What makes a hero? – Ted-Ed


Writing 101: What is the Hero’s Journey


Once Indira and her team enter the tutorial, it’s like a whole new story starts. Basically, it’s like a massive live action role playing game with a bunch of unfinished characters acting out the roles of the side characters.  About halfway through the tutorial, the intruder enters and ends the scenario, which is almost a shame because I wanted to see how the tutorial story ended.


The thing I enjoy most about these books is finding all the literary character and book title references from popular books scattered throughout the story. Some characters make a full cameo, like Huckleberry Finn and Juliet, while others mentioned are less direct. Be on the lookout for the Captain Ahab from Moby Dick and the plot for the Hunger Games allusions. The second book had fewer references than the first book. I’m hoping for more in the next book, like a shout out from Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird or any supernatural or mythical characters.


I could say so much more about this story and this series but I don’t want to give away too much.


The title, book cover and summary for Book 3 have already been released. I’m really looking forward to this one because we get to travel to the city of Fester, where antagonists learn to be villains. I’m hoping a future book will be about where animal characters come from, like Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web or any character from Dr. Seuss.

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