Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Half Upon a Time

Life’s no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father's been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who'd want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway? Especially one that falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and still denies she's royalty.

In fact, May doesn't even believe in magic. Yeah, what's that about? May does need help though--a huntsman is chasing her, her grandmother has been kidnapped, and Jack thinks it’s all because of the Wicked Queen . . . mostly because May’s grandmother might just be the long-lost Snow White.

Jack and May's thrillingly hilarious adventure combines all the classic stories—fractured as a broken magic mirror—into the first of an epic new series of novels for the ages.

(Summary from
No Spoilers

I think this was fairly well written for a middle grade book. I enjoyed it as an adult and could imagine myself loving it as a middle schooler. I think this book was targeted a bit more for boys in terms of adventure but I as a female I'm sure open minded young girls will enjoy this story as well. The reason I say this is because the book is told solely from Jack's point of view.

The characters were often funny and I found myself laughing out loud several times. I liked Jack a lot, he had a lot of moments where he's funny and fails but he takes it in stride. It's funny because he's not extremely motivated and tends to do things because others push him or he's thrown into it. I was wary of May as the female protagonist but I grew to like her well enough. She didn't really get on my nerves too much which is always a good thing. XD Phillip, I feel could have been developed a little more. He's the standard stereotype of a prince but I can imagine that he'll grow more in the next book which I'm excited to get my hands on.

I enjoyed the plot, the little twists to the fairy tales made it more interesting. While the author played off the fairy tales he didn't rely too heavily on them and he intertwined them quite neatly also throwing in some new types of people. In a way he made it his own which I give him props for because as a fairy tale lover I know it's hard to write fairy tales without making it either too repetitive or changing it so much that the story is no longer recognizable. Riley wrote it well enough that the stories are recognizable but also gave it just that twist to throw you off completely. Especially that ending, that threw me and I enjoy every second of it.

The only slightly disappointing thing is that the author doesn't tie up some of the story lines like what happened to Phillip's betrothed or Jack's father. It is also very convenient that most of the character's parents are missing with the exception of Phillip's mother but she's never around. Still I'm hoping that these get answered in the sequel at least. They did sort of tie up May's story but it just expanded to something more which I know will be touched on in the second book.

Overall, I'm glad I picked this book up and if you're a alternative fairy tale lover who enjoy adventures I'm sure you'd love this book too. I just hope it improves from here!

4 out of 5 rating for me.

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