Rapunzel Untangled – Cindy C Bennett.
I very gratefully received an ARC of this through Net Galley and Cedar Fort, Inc, so thank you for issuing me with something that kept me so very entertained.
This is the modern day retelling of the classic Rapunzel story. Modernising fairy tales seems to be the in thing right now, we have Chris Colfer’s Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell, we have Grimm and Once Upon a Time on the television now. This is very much in the vein of those and also similar to Adele Geras’s Happy Ever After. Before I crack on with my thoughts, here’s the blurb:
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.
So, the story goes that seventeen year old Rapunzel is confined to her tower because of a mystery illness known as SCID. The only person she has for company is her mother who comes in to see her at various points in the day only to brush her hair.
That all changes when she decides to use the computer provided for her education to set up a Facebook account which she uses to befriend local high school boy, Fane. They get chatting and eventually meet – don’t try that at home kids. This bit did feel a bit….
This bit felt a bit forced. Fane is supposed to be popular high school boy who is on sports teams and has loads of friends… I don’t quite understand why he would just accept the friend request of a person with no picture, no name and no information. It sort of goes against everything young people are taught about internet security but you know, they had to meet some how and it’s quite difficult when one of your characters can’t get out of their room.
Anyway, he starts visiting her in the tower and together they find ways to break out of her room and explore the rest of the house, (this version see’s Rapunzel locked in one section of a massive mansion). Together they discover all is not as it seems and from this point on it starts getting really gritty and stops feeling like a children’s fairy tale and becomes a kick ass paranormal mystery.
I actually properly loved this.
There were great references to the original story as well as cleverly woven in modern day elements. I thought the relationship between Fane and Rapunzel was very cute and her social ineptitude to some of the things he believed were normal were heart warming and very funny.
The writing style of this was great too, I loved how I didn’t feel at all talked down to even though this is for younger audiences and some of the scarier moments were just that – scary. There is only one major thing that I have as a criticism though, after the big reveal when the paranormal stuff starts kicking off (I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll River you all instead.)
There is no real explanation into Vedmak’s motivation, what he can do, what happens to him, what power he was alluding to or what the rituals were really for. I’m hoping there will be a sequel which will answer this but the rest of the book was so awesome I’m not that bothered about not knowing to be honest.
Also, I really enjoyed that Rapunzel and I share views on Halloween, I love it when that happens.
All in all though, definitely a great story for young kids (and some big ones as well) and I recommend it completely.