Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Review of Rapunzel Untangled

Here's a description of the book from the author's website:

"Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction.

But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is.

Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale."

While that synopsis is pretty intriguing all on its own, here's the blurb the publisher shared on NetGalley:

"Told that she must be indoors at all times, Rapunzel feels trapped in the huge mansion where she lives. But when school demands allow her access to the Internet, she discovers Facebook and becomes friends with Fane, a local teenager who changes her whole world. This story will have you entangled from beginning to end."

I may not be a huge fan of Facebook, but that modern, quirky twist on the fairytale caught my attention!

My Rating

Fall/Spring

My Review

With such a promising premise - a fairytale retelling where the hero and heroine meet via social media - I couldn't resist giving Rapunzel Untangled a try. And I found it be quite an enjoyable read, one that trapped me in Rapunzel's world through the majority of the early morning hours!

I love that Rapunzel and Fane meet early on in the story, and most of the plot centers around their interactions. Yup, I love a good romance! Fane is a great hero - thoughtful, funny, protective, generous, and always ready to chat through Skype or come to the rescue at the sound of a text message being received. He comes across as very true-to-life regarding his immaturity (albeit adorable immaturity) and his cocky, teenage-boy-ness. Yet his heroic qualities really shine, making this a well-mixed blend of YA fiction and happily-ever-after romance.

Towards the beginning, when the plot focuses on Rapunzel learning about the outside world and falling in love with Fane, I was completely enthralled. The mystery of Rapunzel's "back story" remains vague for a while, and the suspense that comes with that is built up well. How the ending comes about, though, was what kept me from loving the book. Mostly, it's a lot of creepy and bizarre and mystical all tangled up together, without a compelling, believable, or (in my opinion) fitting conclusion.

I can't say how closely this story parallels the original fairytale, but I did notice some parallels with the Disney movie Tangled, and I'm not sure exactly how much of that was because these two retellings were drawing from the same fairytale. But Rapunzel Untangled is definitely unique in its YA re-imagining, and the sweet romance - due to Bennett's great characterization - is all its own. The ending of Tangled, however, left me with a much lighter and more gratifying feeling than the ending of Rapunzel Untangled. The messages in this book about seeking the truth and finding love (not just romantically, but also in a familial sense) are great. The message about the triumph of inner strength/power didn't really go over so well with me.

Note: I am happy to say that this is actually a rather "clean" read. The sexual content goes no farther than kissing (and some mild innuendos), and there isn't really any foul language to note. But the references to witchcraft (etc.) are a bit troubling, so proceed with caution. (There isn't anything super "graphic," but it's there, nonetheless.)

*With thanks to Cedar Fort, Inc. and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC e-galley of this book in exchange for sharing my honest opinion.*

This book will be released February 12, 2013.

12 comments:

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

It sounds adorable! Great review!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

I love fairy tales and books based on fairy tales so this looks cute! Thanks so much for sharing, I'll have to look into it. :-)

xoxo,
Renee

Rissi said...

Sounds super cute, but... I am worried about that ending. :)

Shannen Crane Camp said...

I read an ARC of this as well! SO good :) I just loved it!

Amber S. said...

Juju,

It pretty much is! :) And thank you! It was a fun, fast read (I stayed up way too late one night absorbed in the story, LOL!).

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Renee,

Me, too! Well, it's actually kind of a more recent thing for me, as I've discovered the joys of YA books thanks to bloggers and Goodreads and what have you. :) I have Melanie Dickerson's Snow White retelling on my Christmas wishlist (although it doesn't come out until January, LOL!).

One of my favorite reads this year, I have to add, was Entwined by Heather Dixon. A fabulous book based on the fairytale of the 12 dancing princesses!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Rissi,

It really is cute, especially the romantic elements. :)

I will say this about the ending, if I may - it isn't disappointing in the sense of fairytales and what you might hope to ultimately see happen. (Hope that's not too much of a spoiler, albeit a very broad one!) I just found it disappointing in the sense that some elements came across as "cop-outs" and too bizarre, in my opinion. Kind of like, "Where did that come from?" and "That's all it takes?" and "Why that route?"

I don't know - I'm probably not making much sense in my attempts to avoid spoilers, LOL! I guess what I would say is that if you came to this knowing that there's some creepy witchcraft stuff (as the evil, not the good, though), and that the ending isn't really remarkable or clever in certain aspects (according to Amber, anyway!), then you can enjoy this simply for the fun fairytale it is and not take certain things too seriously. But, you know, maybe *I* am taking things too seriously by thinking too hard about this, LOL!

OK, I'm done. ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Shannen,

Welcome to my blog - I'm so glad to have you visit! :) This was a great read, overall, and I just loved the romance! Too sweet! It was a fun find for me on NetGalley. :)

Best wishes on your own writing, as well! I saw Finding June featured on the CleanTeenFiction blog for her "Waiting on Wednesday" pick - looks intriguing!

~Amber

Rissi said...

You were just fine with spoilers, Amber. I always go for spoilers anyway so well, they never seem like spoilers anyway. :)

Amber S. said...

Rissi,

Oh, good! :) Sometimes it can be hard to share your thoughts on a book w/out spoilers!

You're so sweet to stop by this post again! :)

~Amber

Rissi said...

You definitely made me want to read this one. Will have to pick it up. :)

Amber S. said...

Rissi,

Aww, I hope you enjoy it, then! :) She also has three fairy tale-twist novellas published as e-books that are $.99 each, if you're interested in getting a taste for her work! I've only read one of those so far, but I really enjoyed it. Beautiful Beast is such a sweet story! :) (There's a tiny bit of language, but nothing too bad!)

~Amber