Marshmallow has reviewed several books inspired by fairy tales before. See, for example, her reviews of A Tale Dark and Grim, Tuck Everlasting, and Ella Enchanted. This week she shares with us her thoughts on another book with a new take on an old fairy tale: Half Upon A Time by James Riley.
Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about fairy tales, then this might be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Jack the thirteenth’s grandfather has been bugging him to go and find a princess to rescue. So when he fails his “rescue-a-princess” test, his grandfather is not pleased. Jack says that he should be able to find adventure where he is. And he says that he should just be able to hold out his arms and a princess should just appear. To highlight this, he holds out his arms. A ring of blue fire opens up and a strange girl falls out. She is wearing ripped blue pants and a shirt that says “Punk Princess”. And her hair has a strand that is dyed blue.
Jack and his grandfather think this girl must be a princess just because her shirt says so. Once they wake her up, they learn that her name is May. May is shocked to see that there is a fairy in Jack’s hair. She asks where her grandmother is. Then when they talk to her more, she says stuff that they don’t understand. For example, she talks about things like “computers”, which obviously don’t exist.
May explains that she and her grandmother were kidnapped, but while they were going into a portal, she struggled and she ended up here. But then, while Jack is talking to May, a lot of boys come over to try to marry her because apparently Jack’s grandfather went and told everyone that he found a princess. Jack and May have to run away from the boys and they learn something surprising. May’s grandmother might just be the long lost Snow White. And they have to find her.
Marshmallow’s Review: I think that this is a great book because it combines the modern world and the world of fairy tales. The story of Jack and the Beanstalk and the fairy tales of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty all come into the story. The way the author brings in all these stories and plays with them reminded me a bit of Soman Chainani’s School for Good and Evil series.
Also I think that this book is funny because Jack doesn’t know about computers or phones or doctors. In his realm they are called healers. When May says that this is just a fairy tale, Jack says that fairies don’t have tails. He doesn’t say it as a joke though because he actually thinks that she means fairy tails.
Half Upon A Time is part of a series, and I haven’t read the next book, but this book is a great book by itself. Still it is probably a good idea to read the next books, because not all story lines are concluded in the first book. (I mean that the problems are not fixed, but it doesn’t really end in a cliffhanger.)
I don’t really have a favorite character in this story because a lot of the characters are great.
Half Upon A Time is probably best for ten year olds and up, though it is a great book that would be entertaining for all ages. It is not a really scary book, but it still might be scary to younger bunnies. If you have particularly cautious little readers, reading it before giving it to them might be a good idea.
Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.