Monday, February 9, 2009

Golden (Once Upon a Time Series)

by Cameron Dokey

Summary: Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a dangerous deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald and without hope of ever growing hair, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future.
After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard years ago and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed...forever.

My review: Think you've heard all the Rapunzel stories out there?!? I guarantee you've never heard this one before. Rapunzel has as much hair as a cue ball and is free to roam the countryside while the Sorceress Melisande's daughter Rue is locked away in a tower with her flowing golden locks. The two girls must work together to find a way out of the tower before time runs out.

Rapunzel was a wonderfully written character. I enjoyed the fact that she wasn't as demure and ladylike as a lot of fairytale heroines. She was a spitfire and didn't get pushed around. I'm always a fan of sassy and sarcastic women, mostly I think, because I would definitely want to be that way if I were a romantic heroine. No swooning for me, thank you very much.

I've always wondered about the mother in this story. What on earth could possibly induce a mother to give up her firstborn for a bunch of herbs? This author handles the explanation very well, but in general it's always kind of troubled me and I'm not alone.

SIDE NOTE: A friend of mine's husband blogged about his concern with all the absentee mothering and maniacal step-mothers that you see in most Disney movies and fairytales. Check it out here. It's pretty funny.

There was ONE character who had a secret that was so blindingly obvious I was going to mention it as a negative, but as I read I discovered that it was actually nice being in on the secret and getting to anticipate the "big reveal."

My one real criticism is that I wish there could have been a bit more about how exactly they got out of the tower. I wanted there to be a secret thing they had to do and when it all played out, I felt the explanation was a little weak.

Rapunzel's lack of hair was a refreshing twist and, while I held in my heart a secret desire to see some hair on that girl, I'll say that I was very happy with the state of her hair at the end of the story. In fact, I loved the ending! It was so close and yet so far from the traditional one that I couldn't help but be impressed and fall in love with her version of happily-ever-after.

My rating: 4 stars (I really enjoyed the uniqeness of the story).

If I could sum this book up in one phrase it would be: A fun, fairytale read that differs from the norm and empowers young girls to be their own hero.

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