I must have a weakness for television show novelizations with a historical angle. Last time it was a Mary-Kate and Ashley mystery, but on this trip to the bookstore, it was the Sabrina the Teenage Witch book Milady's Dragon that magically appeared in my hand as I headed for the cash register.
Maybe my expectations were lower after the Olsen twins' literary letdown, but Milady's Dragon was surprisingly entertaining. For anyone who possesses even a general familiarity with the characters, the book is like watching an especially good episode without any commercials. If you're mostly familiar with the Sabrina reruns though, I'm sorry to say you won't find any Harvey in these pages. The book is based on The WB's new version of the show, where Sabrina's already in college.
As demonstrated back in Sabrina book #2, Showdown at the Mall, a novelization's greatest advantage is that it's free from a TV show's real-world limits on sets, locations or casting. The unforgettable mall destruction scene from Showdown at the Mall is rivaled in Milady's Dragon by Sabrina's trip back in time to a large medieval village and a castle with a dungeon. And when Sabrina encounters her aunts as teenagers, we get to imagine them as they'd actually look, rather than cringing at young actresses who barely resemble them.
Aside from the time traveling, the impressive locations, and the friendly feminism Sabrina imparts to an unsuspecting knight in shining armor, the highlights of this book coincide with what is frequently my favorite part of the television show -- Salem the cat. Salem's always good for a chuckle, as readers learn early in the story when he asks, "Did someone mention oversized poultry?" And even when Sabrina is trapped in a medieval jail cell, Salem adds a touch of humor to a serious situation by wailing, "If only I had a cell phone."
Reading this book might be a little more work than zoning out in front of the WB, but if you're on the go a lot and need a more portable version of Sabrina, zap yourself over to Amazon.com and pick up a copy of Milady's Dragon.