Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review - Shannon Hale's Rapunzel's Revenge

Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: August 19th, 2008
Format: Hardcover, 144 Pages
Challenge: 1st in Series
Rating: ★★
To Buy
Rapunzel has lived her life in a giant fortress never knowing what's outside her cloistered world. Mother Gothel has wanted her raised in ignorance to the horrors and deprivations of her people. One day Rapunzel defies Gothel and finds the dry barren world Gothel has created by hoarding her growing magic and only helping those able to pay the price. Rapunzel also makes the starling discovery that her mother lives and that Gothel took Rapunzel as reparations for stealing lettuce, and named Rapunzel after said lettuce as a reminder. Once Rapunzel knows the truth, Gothel realizes that she is no longer valuable to her and therefore must be sent away. Into the deepest, weirdest jungle, to the highest tree Rapunzel is imprisoned. Being sustained by Gothel's growth magic has it's pluses and minuses. She doesn't starve, but her hair and nails grow at a prodigious rate. Once a year Gothel offers Rapunzel her freedom if she were to stand by her side, every year Rapunzel refuses. Finally Gothel has enough and seals Rapunzel's fate. Her little tree decides to seal her in, Rapunzel has other plans. She's been practicing with her hair, she lasso's the nearest tree and "gracefully" makes her escape. She heads to the nearest town and she befriends a young con man, Jack, and a friendship is born. They make their way through the barren wasteland Gothel has created, outlaws they may be, but they still help the little guy. Soon they will reach Gothel, and the showdown will happen, with one or the other victorious. And maybe a kiss at the end?

Hale decided to retell the Rapunzel fairytale because it truly is the stupidest of fairytales. The prince never thought to bring a ladder but got her pregnant!?! Hence the short and derogatory portrayal of the handsome prince for about two seconds. Now to the world that has been created. I have issues with this world. It's like they didn't apply world building 101 to this. At times it's distinctly the Wild West and at other time there are jungles and weird beasts. I think if they had stuck with the Wild West theme it would have been awesome. But the weird vegetation and at times, Germanic structures, made this a disjointed confusing world. The clever, witty dialogue and the right vs. might could have made a wonderfully cohesive story, if not for the world. Also, I know this is a younger audience this book is aimed at, but the drawing style seems so pedestrian and sub par. Nathan Hale's cover just grabs your attention and makes you say "I want!" But the interior is such a generic, typical layout, it doesn't push any boundaries. With the amazing things being done in comics today, you have to bring your A game. He did not bring it. But I do like that this is aimed at hesitant readers, as a kid, this was so my type of book!


I have this one scheduled to read for Fairy Tale Fortnight. Though, judging on the review of #2, I'm guessing I should stop after this one...

Oh, what's Fairy Tale Fortnight?

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