Another book from the local college library, I first picked up the book because I thought I recognized one of the author's and liked her work (turns out it was a different author but I had still read one of her works, The Princess Academy and liked it, I think this proves just how much I've read over the years). Also, despite all the fairy tale retellings I've read over the years, I'm still intrigued by every new one I come across, especially the ones that aren't in a contemporary modern setting like this one.
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dale Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale
Summary: Similar to the original story, Rapnuzel is raised by the evil witch Mother Gothel and named after a plant that her father stole out of the witch's garden before she was born. A spunky girl, Rapunzel is eventually punished by Mother Gothel and locked in a tree until she is broken. But, thanks to the growth spell on the tree, Rapunzel finds a way to escape with her hair and sets off to rescue her still alive birth mother from Mother Gothel's mines.
The Good: Rapunzel is joined by a boy, Jack, in her travels and Jack does what a lot of other males in fantasy stories don't do, let's her take the lead and never complains or questions that she is the stronger fighter. It's so unusual to see that happen, almost always someone will make a fuss that a girl is in a position of power, that it both surprised me and made me realize just how much I miss stories like this. The story was well-paced with just enough events happening before the climax to build Rapunzel's character and yet not make it feel like the story was dragging it's feet.
The Bad: It's a good thing that Rapunzel is such a strong character since Jack sometimes comes off as a bit flat. He gets a little bit more fleshed out as the story goes along but he's never as interesting and the story probably could have worked without him or with another character in his place all together. Also, since the story does have a few other fairy tales thrown into the mix I would have liked even more fairy tales thrown in, as a bit of a bonus for those who are familiar with the traditional fairy tales.
The Art: After the author's names it was the art that drew my eye to the book and it's rather nice artwork. Each area the characters travel to has a slightly different color scheme (it's a full color comic) and the spread pages look gorgeous. There is a map in the book but it's halfway in and feels awkwardly placed, I would have liked it much better if it was at the beginning or the end of the book for easier reference.
When I was double-checking about the author I found that there is a sequel (prequel?) to the book that deals more with Jack's backstory that would take care of some of my complaints but I didn't like the artwork on the cover as much (even though it's by the same person) so I don't think I'll be trying to track that one down. For those interested, it's called Calamity Jack and, if you do read it, tell me if I should reconsider and check it out!