Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Cloaked by Alex Flinn
published 2011 by HarperCollins
341 pages (hardcover), MG/YA

Okay, the front flap is too good not to share:
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.
Oh, Johnny. You poor boy. Literally. Johnny's a cobbler (not the yummy kind, though I imagine he might be ruggedly handsome) and a hard, hard-worker. He repairs shoes day and night so that he and his mom can afford to live. One day, Princess Victoriana shows up at Johnny's hotel and his ogling turned accidental meeting changes his life. Victoriana is gorgeous, obviously, and flashy in the spotlight, giving the paparazzi exactly what they want, but she is devastated on the inside. Her brother has been kidnapped and she needs a trustworthy someone to find him. Someone like Johnny. Did I mention that her brother's been turned into a frog? Right. But if Johnny finds him, this frog prince, Victoriana will marry Johnny - not a bad proposition for a boy who has no wealth or any chance at finding love with someone so beautiful. Yes! Of course he'll help! With a magic cloak that can transport him anywhere, Johnny begins his quest to find Victoriana's brother.

This is a fairy tale retelling of sorts, though it doesn't follow one story but rather seven different ones, which are briefly summarized at the end of the book. This is something I wanted to know beforehand, and I should have checked the back to find it. So, I thought I'd list them for you, just so you know:

  • The Elves and the Shoemaker
  • The Frog Prince
  • The Six Swans
  • The Golden Bird
  • The Valiant Tailor
  • The Salad
  • The Fisherman and His Wife
That's quite a collection of tales! But Flinn weaves them all together so wonderfully. It's an insane adventure that Johnny has, but it works. I liked the story, and I alternated between reading the book and the e-book (which I've never done before!) so that I could finish it. I was a little disappointed in some parts of the writing - the love story was a little too predictable and could have been left a little more elusive. But overall, I enjoyed the story and look forward to more fairy tale retellings from Alex Flinn. A solid three purple crayons. 



Jan von Harz said...

While I love Flinn's retelling and even use two of them in my class for a compare contrast essay and creative writing assignment, Cloaked was not my favorite. Glad you liked it.

Peaceful Reader said...

I love a good retelling but this one sounds like it has a lot jammed together!

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