It’s a new year but Selah’s still at it! She’s popping in to post another fantastic review on Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale.
We’re all used to fairy tales being turned on their heads, but it’s really, really fun when you find one done especially well. Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon, Dean, and Nathan Hale take the core aspects of the original and put them into a fun, rollicking wild west setting – and it works so well I can’t even believe it.
Rapunzel is still in a tower (she saves herself), and sets about exploring the territory, bent on finding her real mother and confronting the false mother/witch who imprisoned her. She also teams up with Jack (from Jack in the beanstalk) and they have adventures along the way.
I love that Rapunzel is a forward-momentum take-charge heroine, but who also has things to learn and isn’t perfect. I absolutely love that she uses her braids to lasso things and fight villains. It’s like Zorro meets fairy tales, and it’s fabulous. What also really works is that although this is set in the old west, it’s not a glamorized/façade wild west. Rapunzel and Jack go through mining camps and towns, and you get a real sense of the oppression that the witch has inflicted on others, as well as the actual dangers the pair have to face along the way. Nothing’s too easy, and it feels very well-set within the world – this isn’t some random gimmick.
A lot has been done with Rapunzel through the years (and let’s be honest, the original character gives people a lot of room to work since there’s not a ton to her fairytale), but all the things the author and artist do to fill in the blanks and round out both her and Jack are refreshing and interesting. I spent a good few hours paging through the book, even after I’d finished it.
The art is expressive, fun, adventurous – I love the sense of representation throughout, and that the things portrayed aren’t glitzed up or put through a fantasy filter. You can tell people are having a hard time and that things could be hazardous, even though this is a YA adventure story and nothing is over the top.
Overall, this is probably best for late elementary through junior high, though I think all ages (even parents!) could have a lot of fun with it. It’s filled with humor, adventure, and characters that anyone can latch onto. Honestly, after this, I want to read everything that this team comes up with, because it’s absolutely brilliant.
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