By: Alex Flinn
Published By: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Cloaked is another modern retelling of classic fairy tales. However, this one doesn't just focus on one tale in particular like the other retellings Alex Flinn has done. Cloaked has several fairy tale allusions - some of them coming from tales that are quite obscure. Some of the references were totally lost on me. This is one time where I was super grateful for the Author's Note at the end of the book. Flinn explains all of her source material in this section.
This installment from Alex Flinn focuses on young Johnny, a teen who is struggling to help his mother make ends meet in the family shoe repair business. His father disappeared when he was a toddler and since then his mother has had to shoulder the financial burdens all on her own. Johnny hates seeing his mother so worried and overworked. Everything changes for him the day Princess Victoriana shows up in the hotel where the shoe repair shop is located. She offers him a way to end his family's financial struggles if he will help her track down her brother - who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. Johnny's adventures traveling throughout the Florida Keys, Europe, and New York City help him see that magic truly does exist and often the things we love most are right in front of our face.
I found this to be a cute and interesting read, but it wasn't anything special. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. I didn't take to this book as I did to Beastly and A Kiss in Time. Perhaps it was because I had always loved Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. Reading Alex Flinn's previous retellings was like playing a game to see where I could find the familiar moments from some of my old favorites. In this book I was unable to do that.
I also just felt the writing wasn't as good in this one as it was in the two previous books. I can't place my finger on exactly what it was about the writing in this one that didn't speak to me, but I did find times where I just couldn't bring myself to keep reading. Overall, this is a cute, clean book and I would recommend it to people who enjoy retellings. However, if you are expecting the romance and strong characters that we have seen from Alex Flinn in the past, you may be disappointed with the read.
One Last Gripe: I felt like all the fairy tales were being thrown at me in rapid succession. I would have preferred the story to focus on one or two tales in detail instead of so many at once.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The Elves and the Shoemakers references
First Sentence: I've never seen a princess before.
Favorite Character: Meg
Least Favorite Character: Philippe
I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.