By Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Published by AiT/PlanetLar; $9.95 USD

Oddly enough most stories described as fairy tales have little or nothing to do with one of the lovely, winged creatures. Most just have some hidden lesson about morality, featuring characters boiled down to their most convenient definitions, be it the evil old man, the virtuous young woman, or the innocent child. In that aspect Ursula is no different; it does, however, feature one of those aforementioned rarities, a fairy.

The story focuses on three main characters; Miro, the boy who would be King, Boris, his best friend and vigilant servant, and Ursula, the fairy that will steal his heart. Set in a modern-day kingdom, the plot moves along quite swiftly. Unfortunately we arenít given a proper introduction to the characters, nor their world, which makes for somewhat of a confusing tale.

The first few pages give us all the information we will ever know about the characters, including the fact that Miro and Ursula are in love. In fact, we are repeatedly beaten over the head with that bit of information throughout the entire story. The three share a few adventures, including the rescue of a magical bird, before the girl is swept away to some far off place, breaking the heart of the boy-king.

Skip ahead a few years and Miro is now a man, and upon being pressured by his Father has decided that it is time for him to take a bride. He seeks out his long-lost love, now knowing why she had to leave, and upon finding her gets some rather disconcerting news. Fairies cannot experience love, or their hearts will explode. Faced with that dilemma Miro sweeps the girl in his arms and kisses her.

The two, along with Miroís constant tag-along Boris are instantly transported into a world within Ursula; the world of her emotions, where they revert back to their childhood forms. Once more the trio set out on an adventure, this time to save their lives, and champion the most noble of causes, true love.

Ursula is hardly an original plot, but Moon and Ba try to give it a fresh coat of paint with the modern setting and the revelation about fairies. But, rather than provide explanations about the main characters, weíre left to just accept the things they do and their place in this world. And, while it looks nice, one-dimensional characters are still one-dimensional characters, no matter how great they appear.

The book could have benefited greatly from a larger page count, with background information on Miro, Boris, and Ursula. Telling us how they met, exploring more of the kingdom, even the world that they live in, and most of all a bit more insight into Ursulaís world, her feelings, and her family.

The few bright spots of the book happen in the world of Ursulaís emotions, and the most notable of those is meeting the dragon (who represents her heart), which is entirely too short. Even the ending feels wrapped up too quickly, and with no sacrifices made it ends up losing the folk tale feeling.

There are instances where the story seems to be drowning in its own mythology and others where it makes little to no sense at all. The true love message loses its impact by the end of the story, especially when the moral seems to be ďgo after what your heart desires and you wonít have to give up anything for your happiness.Ē

The art is definitely the best thing about the book. Itís crisp and clean, and even varies depending on the story's setting. Overall itís a good effort, but canít overcome a standard plot featuring cookie-cutter characters, who seem to get whatever they long for. Grade: 2.5/5

-- Logan Polk

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