Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

  • Age Range: 9 and above
  • Grade Level: 3rd and above
  • ISBN: 978-0615696959
  • Illustrations by Yoko Matsuoka
  • Published by Flickerfawn, 2012

When Fiona Thorn, an ornery orphan with an expertise in explosives, tries to rescue her imprisoned friend, Jaydin Rowan, she wants nothing more than a few sleeping guards and a satchel full of Blast. What she gets is a run-in with three bickering princesses that puts all four girls on the wrong side of a locked dungeon door.

Now, accidentally involved in a plot to assassinate the King and accused of kidnapping the princesses, Fiona must find a way to free them all, save the King, and rescue Jaydin—all while struggling to pay the magical debt that’s slowly killing her. Unless the princesses’ annoying sibling rivalry kills her first. Packed with powerful magic, fun-loving fairies, and a vicious ogre turned pet, Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell is a thrilling action adventure just right for middle grade.

“Barton’s explosive middle-grade fantasy debut tells about an orphan’s quest to save her magical best friend. …Fiona’s penchant for explosives and magical spells adds to the fun. Teenage readers will no doubt relate to fiery Fiona and her need to stand up for what’s right, assert her independence and be true to her friends. Barton’s prose is clear and easy to read; it paints a fantastical, well-drawn picture of her fictional world, yet offers realistic, relatable characters throughout. Young fantasy fans will likely enjoy this richly imagined tale and will eagerly await its next installment.”

Kirkus Reviews

★★★★★ Great read. Fun and easy.

This had a nice story line about friendship, family, love, trust and hate. Toss in some magic and you’ve got a great read like “Fiona Thorn”. —Amazon reviewer, Julie

★★★★ A Prickly, Engaging, Relatable Fantasy Quest Heroine

We have fairies and a talking horse and bickering princesses and a heroine who likes to blow things up. But this is not a larky la-la sort of fairy tale. This book has some oomph…which elevates the book well beyond the usual predictable quest fantasy.— Pop Bop (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)

★★★★★ An Enjoyable Read for All Ages.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book…As a fantasy, this book will surely entertain, with plenty of intrigue, suspense and excitement. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy. — Amazon reviewer, Paul from LA

★★★★ Tween Approved Middle Grade Fantasy

My daughter (12) reviewed this book for Mother Daughter Book Reviews. Here is her review:

…Overall, I thought this book was really cool and I couldn’t put it down because I kept thinking things like “Why is this happening?” and “What’s going to happen next?” I think girls and boys 8-12 would like this book. I would give the book 4.5 stars. —Renee @Mother Daughter Book Reviews

★★★★★ New Characters

…I loved how there were talking animals, a new twist on fairies and some new creatures I never heard of—like Cave Bodkins. It a great middle-grade fantasy that has not only fun, light parts to it, but a bit of darkness as well…If you love new characters and adventure, this is a great story. —Amazon reviewer, Jan Farnworth

★★★★ Great Story!

Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell has great characters as well as a fun and non-cliched plot. I honestly could not put it down!…It’s the perfect mix of dark and light fantasy. It’s original, too…Everything had a new twist on it; even the fairies, and that’s coming from a girl who went through a HUGE phase with fairies. If I think it’s original, it most likely is.

But the characters are the thing that make this book great…Fiona was definitely my favorite character, followed by Cricket, followed by that cute little troll! (He’s not exactly a main character, but he was simply adorable!) I loved Fiona’s feistiness, and Cricket was just adorable. And Fiona’s devotion for her friend Jaydin was really touching. I am so glad I read this book, and I would highly recommend it! — My Full Bookshelf Reviews

★★★★★ Great Book

Very good Book…normally I don’t like fairytale based books but this was Great. Very well written and easy to understand. — Amazon reviewer, Michael Lane


I found this book purely by accident. I…couldn’t stop reading it until I’d consumed the very last page…

…The book is extremely easy to read and totally enthralling. It draws you in from the first word and drags you along on a whole series of adventures that, by the end has Fiona all but dead after failing to pay the price for trying to save her best friend from a terrible conspiracy.

The descriptions of everything…are clear, detailed, engaging and vivid.  All in all this book is a stunning dark fairytale and well worth a read. It’s the best teen book I’ve read in a long time and, for me, is right up there with Percy Jackson and the likes. — Goodreads reviewer, Nephylim