Author: Cameron Dokey
Series? Part of the “Once Upon a Time” series. As far as I can tell, they are unrelated fairy tale retellings.
Publisher: Simon Pulse
My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
About the book:
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.
The premise of the story is interesting. We have a bald Rapunzel being raised like a daughter to a sorceress. For a while there is nothing about hair or a tower or a prince. And it quickly convinced me that Rapunzel would never grow hair. So how is this a retelling of the famous story?
I also found it very intriguing that the sorceress’s gift was to see into the hearts of others, and she could reflect that heart back to them. While at first this was only an interesting feature to the story, it plays a major roll later.
The book started out interesting, but slow. Cameron Dokey takes a lot of time to build the world that Rapunzel lives in. And as I said before, it is not recognizable as a world past Rapunzels lived.
It does work out in the end though. We get a tower, hair(not Rapunzel’s), and a prince, though none of them came about the way I thought they would. The only thing I did have figured out was Rapunzel was never to grow hair.
I really liked the ending. The sorceress’ gift foreshadows and leads the whole story. It is all about what is seen in the heart. It is about true motives, loyalty, and learning to love. I don’t want to give anything away, but there was one particular scene at the end that was very sweet, and made of point of making room for others in your heart.
While the story line and premise was very interesting, I did have a few problems with the writing style. Cameron Dokey personified everything. And I mean everything! I don’t mind personification, but it was way over used.
Another writing device that was over used was telling something in the beginning of the chapter, then taking the whole chapter to explain it. Such as, “It was the cat who decided things in the end.” Then taking the whole chapter to explain how the cat even fits in. And it did not actually ‘decide’ things; it just created a diversion and a bond between two characters. Again, I don’t mind authors that do this, but it was overused in this story.
Overall, I liked the story, but the writing could have been better. I like that it was not the typical Rapunzel tale. Although it is not a favorite, it is a good little book.