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Middle Grade Fiction 288
Mix of all your favorite fairytales
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What I Loved: The first third of the book was a humorous juxtaposition of famous fairytales and silly situations. Jack doesn’t want to go on quests or rescue princesses like everyone else he knows. Then the sky opens up and a girl wearing a Princess of Punk t-shirt literally falls at his feet needing help to rescue her grandmother that has been kidnapped. Their relationship is fun as May is totally unprepared to be in a magical place, and the fairytale she knows turns out to be about real people. The tale introduces and intertwines so many fairytales into a new and unique story. I love fractured fairytales and welcomed each new addition of characters to the plot. They meet Prince Philip who is so perfect at everything he does. With the help of the Wolf King and Philip, they make it out of so many close calls that it gets a bit ridiculous, except the whole premise is seated firmly in fairytale magic where really anything goes. However, I was pleased when we finally made it to the end of the quest for book one.
There are many unanswered questions that I had after the first book like who are May’s parents and why was her grandmother raising her in the real world? It was surprising when traditionally good characters such as the dwarves and Red Riding Hood are portrayed as villainous. Not to spoil anything but the quest to rescue her grandmother goes a bit sideways in what they unleash and sets up the second book nicely. I thought the timeline of events from the Snow White/Evil Queen war to now is missing some important events that I hope will be explained further. Jack’s sword and the mysterious former owner definitely have my curiosity piqued to know more.
May and Jack’s relationship is lighthearted and a bit flirty at times. I was a bit surprised that from the beginning of the Middle-Grade book Jack is already attracted to her. It is all understated and age-appropriate, but I am used to the realization of attraction happening further in a series. Jack is definitely jealous to have Prince Philip around due to his attraction to May.
May’s lack of understanding of this new world and her impatience leads to them getting into a number of bad situations. However, Jack’s handling of the situation is what gets critiqued and highlighted. I thought it was a bit unfair for her to be sarcastic and snarky at him without acknowledging the poor choices she was making. I hope further books will see her mature some.
Final Verdict: The book is humorous and definitely fun as we spot so many of our well-known fairytale characters mixed up in this tale. This is perfect for fans of fractured fairytales and Liesl Shurtliff’s Fairly True series (Grump, Red, Jack).
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