I’ll admit it; I watched the movie â€œBeastlyâ€ instead of reading the book. The movie was great. It was fun and I loved the visual of the wicked looking tattoos and the scars much more than a hairy teen. But this intrigued me to read Alex Flinn’s other fairy tale retellings. I love fairy tale retellings, and while I’m waiting for the next Jessica Day George to come out, I thought I would give these a try. So I give you Alex Flinn’s fairy tales, Besides Beastly.
I used to live in South Florida and am a huge Carl Hiaasen fan. So the setting hooked me right away. Flinn wove several different fairy takes to make her most recent novel, Cloaked. She used The Frog Prince, The Elves and the Shoemaker and the lesser known, The Six Swans and The Golden Bird. Her characters are colorful and outrageous, from the talking fox to the spoiled, drunk princess. Johnny is a shoe repair guy in a posh South Florida hotel. His dream is to become a famous shoe designer for the rich and famous. So when Victoriana, a party girl princess from Europe stays at the hotel, he finds his chance. But she has another job for him. She needs him to find her brother who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. My favorite aspect of this story is the talking animals that used to be human, especially the famous swans from the hotel. Johnny has a magic earpiece so he can hear the animals. He also has a magic cloak which will take him anywhere he wants to go. Johnny’s feelings for the princess are complicated, because he also has feelings for Meg, the girl who works in the coffee shop next to his shoe repair shop. I love that he questions why a princess would be better than a regular girl; especially if that regular girl is a wonderful friend. You can tell Flinn lives in South Florida, because her local color is very authentic. I loved it!
A Kiss In Time is Alex Flinn’s take on Sleeping Beauty. Spoiled rich kid, Jack and his buddy are bored on their trip to Europe. So one day they skip out on the tour and have a look around on their own. They stumble upon a thick wood that conceals a kingdom that has been asleep for hundreds of years. When Jack comes across Talia, who is so beautiful, he decides to give her a kiss. She and the entire kingdom wake up. The king isn’t happy and throws the boys in the dungeon. Talia helps him escape on the condition he takes her home to Miami with him. Talia hopes that Jack will be her true love. That thought has Jack a little freaked out. A lot of humor comes from watching Talia navigating the modern world. An evil witch is stalking her the whole time. The witch storyline is very interesting as well. Flinn does a great job showing how modern love fits into a fairy tale. As Jack and Talia’s feeling for each other grow, it is based on substance instead of just looks. The ending is sweet and satisfying. I hope she decides to write more fairy tale retellings.
Kris Hickey is currently reading The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
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