Monday, January 17, 2011

Early Review - Cloaked by Alex Flinn (4/5 stars)

CloakedReading level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Size: 352 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 8, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0060874223
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 4/5 stars

I enjoyed Flinn's Beastly so when I was offered an advanced reading copy for Cloaked through the Amazon Vine program I snapped it up.  This was an entertaining and fun fairy tale retelling.  It mixes aspects from a number of fairy tales but pulls mainly from the Elves and the Shoemaker and The Princess and the Frog.  It is fun, fluffy, and an easy read.

Johnny repairs shoes at his family's shoe shop; his mom and him are pretty strapped for cash and his dad is missing.  Then a visiting princess (known for her public displays of drunkenness) asks him for a favor.  She wants him to find her brother who has been turned into a frog.  Johnny thinks she's a bit batty but when she shows him a magic cloak, a lot of money, and offers to marry him.  Well, he can't turn her down.  Now he is off on a quest to find a frog somewhere in Key West Florida.  Along the way he will learn that much of the world is not what it seems and that maybe there is more to this love thing than a hot princess with wads of cash.

This book is written in a very lighthearted way and is full of slang and silliness.  I loved that it was a fairy tale retelling, and I enjoyed the silliness for the most part.  Overall a quick read that was a nice break from the serious epic fantasy I had just finished before it.  This would be a great book for a light summer read on the beach.

Parts of the book get a bit over the top, but in general all of the characters are likable (if a bit over-stereotyped).  You can't help but root for Johnny throughout the book, although you will occasional want to smack him for his blindness in matters of love.  This book is more of an adventure than anything with some magic and romance added throughout.  It was paced well and hard to put down.

I personally like my fairy tales retold with more beautiful description and irony than this book had.  But this book was still a fun read and should be appropriate for middle grade readers and up.  

Overall I had to say I enjoyed this book.  It was a fun and light-hearted retelling of some more obscure fairy tales.  It did a good job of incorporating a lot of fairy tale elements.  Definitely not a work of fine literature but fun and sweet if that is what you are in the mood for; much less serious in tone than Beastly was.  I will probably pick up Flinn's future works when I am in the mood for something lighter.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:

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