Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review: Half Upon a Time by James Riley

"Once upon a time, Jack wouldn’t have been caught dead in a princess rescue."
Jack has no particular interest in what he’s “supposed” to do – go on adventures, rescue princesses, and perhaps become a hero. But when May, a “punk princess” literally drops into his life the two set off on a quest to discover her past and save May’s grandmother.

My thoughts: This book takes the neat and tidy notions of “once upon a time” and “happily ever after” and plays with them. It also manages to bundle most of the big fairy tales into a single story – Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack and the Beanstalk are all here.  The story moves quickly from place to place with plenty of action along the way. The next in the series is Twice Upon a Time.

Readalikes: Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett should be fun for those who like the humor in this story. The graphic novel series Fables by Bill Willingham also brings together a wide range of folk and fairy tales – all the characters instead are hiding in New York City. Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde follows the ‘normal kid drops into a fairy tale’ theme – but this time deliberately, as part of a virtual reality game; when the game malfunctions, the only way out is to win.

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