11. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

Half Upon a Time by James Riley, 352 pages, read by Angie, on 03/10/2012

Poor Jack. He is not having a good day. He failed his princess rescuing training, but who cares because there aren’t a lot of princesses anyway and royalty is a pain. His father has disappeared (Jack of Jack and the beanstalk). And he has to listen to his grandfather go on about all his adventures. Then a princess falls from the sky…a Punk Princess to be exact (it says so on her shirt). May isn’t like a normal princess, but her grandmother has been kidnapped and they must go on a guest to find her. Thus begins a journey into fairy tales (but fairies don’t have tails insists Jack) where we meet the Big Bad Wolf, Red Hood, Snow White, the Wicked Queen, Rapunzel and more.

I love stories that take things we think we know and turn them on their head. This one takes traditional fairy tale characters and tweaks their stories a bit. It puts them all in a world where they coexists and interact and which seems as real as our world…although it does take May a little while to come to grips with it. This is a fast pace adventure novel that throws one fairy tale after another at you. But it works. I think the characters and the plot are all woven together pretty well. I think Jack is a wonderful Hero; he is not the best Hero to be sure but he has courage and spunk even if he can’t pass all his tests. Phillip, the prince they pick up along the way, is your typical prince; he is perfect at everything he does. He gets on Jack’s nerves but it really works for the story and I enjoy his back story and how it intersects with Jack’s. If there is one character I wasn’t as fond of it is probably May. She seems inconsistent. At times she was wonderful and spunky and just the type you wanted in your heroine; at other times she was spoiled and too caught up in princesses/princes.

The ending of this book does not wrap up the storylines. There is another book coming out called Twice Upon a Time which will hopefully take care of at least some of the dangling threads from this one. This is a very creative series and a fun adventurous read. 2012-13 Missouri Mark Twain Award Nominee.

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