I love going to the bookstore, especially a used one. You never know what you’re going to find.
Sometimes you go in with a list and a goal. Other times, you sort of just meander through the shelves, looking for something to jump out at you. That’s how my last visit to the Half Priced Bookstore was – and what jumped out at me was the Half Upon A Time series by James Riley.
The cover was bright, colorful and fun looking. I had to pull it off the shelf for a closer look.
Confession: That whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” saying? I don’t follow it. I definitely get a first impression from a book cover. Often times, like this time, it’s what pulls me in and gets me interested.
What doesn’t look fun about this? Adventure! Danger! Dangling from high places!
Of course, after the cover, there’s the synopsis or the blurb on the back (or sometimes inside front flap) to pull me in deeper, and if I start reading the first chapter, usually I’m hooked. Which if you haven’t guessed, is exactly what happened when I picked up Half Upon A Time.
So let’s get into the story. What’s it about? Who are our characters? And why should you read it?
If you haven’t guessed from the cover or the title, Half Upon A Time is a fairy tale with a twist. Full of all your favorite and beloved fairy tale characters and their classic stories…probably not how you imagined them.
So let’s meet the main characters:
First up is Jack, our main hero, or rather, our in-denial hero who really thinks his grandfather should just lay off the whole “rescuing a princess” deal. He figures he has enough to deal with after the fiasco with his father stealing from a giant (Jack hasn’t seen him since). But when a princess literally falls out of the sky and into Jack’s arms (sort of), avoiding adventure gets hard, even though his princess, the fiery, sarcastic May fervently denies being royalty (but it says so right on her shirt – “Punk Princess”!) and refuses to believe in magic or giants or any other fairy tails (Jack tried to tell her fairies don’t have tails, but she wouldn’t listen). Unfortunately for May, if she wants to rescue her kidnapped grandmother (who just might be the long-lost Snow White) and avoid being caught by the Huntsman, who is probably working for the Wicked Queen (who just wants to start a war and take over the world), she’s going to have to start believing. And even worse? Jack might be her only hope.
Jack and May’s hilarious misadventure will have you laughing out loud, sitting on the edge of your seat and gasping at the plot twists (unless you’ve got a Magic Mirror that can tell you the future…in which case you already know what’s going to happen. Which also might mean you’re the Wicked Queen, and that’s not good for any of us.). And if you’re anything like me, it will have you quickly picking up the second and third books of the series, reading with a tight grip on the pages, your eyes wide as you drink it all in.
Pirates! Mermaids! Land-walking sharks! It doesn’t get any crazier than that! (until the next book).
The Wicked Queen, betrayal, dragons and EPIC final showdowns…you really won’t want it to end!
I don’t want to spoil anything for those you (all of you, I hope) who want to read the series, so I won’t say more, only this: I heartily recommend this series to all lovers of fairy tales, fantasy, adventure and good reading fun. It’s suitable for all ages, and will definitely leave you smiling. Plus, this awesome author has a treat for his readers on his Tumblr…an epilogue! If you get that far, check out that amazingness here. You won’t regret it.