Book: My Name Is Rapunzel, K.C Hilton
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
I had high hopes for this book after reading the synopsis – it seemed to have a very interesting twist on a beloved fairy tale. And then I started reading it. Sigh. I was sadly quite disappointed by the way this book was written. It did tell Rapunzel’s tale – but it was not as gripping as I hoped.
Oh where to begin? I guess I'll start with the story. We all know the basis of the Rapunzel fairytale from our childhoods – whether it was being read the story or watching Disney’s Tangled. A girl is trapped in a tower by an evil witch for years, so that her hair grows incredibly long, long enough for a Prince to climb and rescue her. In this book, Rapunzel is cursed by an evil witch so that she is to live forever and her hair can’t be cut. After outliving both of her parents and seeing her true love be killed in front of her, Rapunzel ends up living in a castle with the witch and a dragon that supposedly guards her but won’t let her escape. Yes, it had an okay premise, but I think what really made the book go downhill were the characters.
Rapunzel was not a good character. As a protagonist, she was whiny, pitiful and didn’t do anything to try and escape. After one attempt to escape (just one and she’s lived in the castle for 250 years, mind you) she completely gives up and basically cries herself a river. She spends the majority of the novel complaining about how she was stuck with “that witch” (who we’ll get to soon) and a dragon who she assumes just wants to keep her safe even though she barely sees it. She constantly tries to live in the past: she’s reluctant to move with the times, whether it was getting lighting, electricity or a computer, she always pined about why things always had to change. She’s forced to live alongside the witch, Gretta, whom she despises but doesn’t do a thing to try and get rid of her.
She was just a passive, unlikable character.
Now onto our supposed villain, Gretta, the evil witch. It’s never clear from the beginning exactly why Gretta cursed Rapunzel in the first place. She says she needs Rapunzel’s hair but never explains why, and her motive isn’t explained until nearly the end of the novel. I was constantly wondering what Gretta’s motives were, and maybe the author wanted that to be a motive for the reader to keep reading, but for me, I just found it distracting and annoying more than as a reason to keep reading. And even when it was revealed, it wasn’t even a gasp-worthy reason. I honestly didn’t care by that point as the author let it drag on for much too long. She didn’t even appear as that bad of a villain. She appeared villainous when she cursed Rapunzel, but after that she just seemed like a backdrop for Rapunzel to complain about.
I enjoyed the side characters a lot more than the main characters themselves, which really says something about the book. First we had R’s parents, whom I really liked. They adored their daughter so much, and were willing to do anything to rid her of the curse. When they passed I actually felt sad that they were gone. We also have Pepper, R’s only friend and guide to the outside world, who I thought was funny and wished she was in it longer.
And then there’s Jenkins. He’s a reporter, and R reads about an article he wrote scoffing at the idea that fairytales are real; so much so that R gets mad and writes a letter to him stating that fairytales are real, and writing out her entire story in letter form to him. We actually get to read some of those letters, which I didn’t enjoy as some of it was quite repetitive and distracting. It did make Jenkins call out to visit R, however, as he had to see for himself, and they inevitably fall for each other. I actually enjoyed this part of the novel and found his character endearing.
I won’t spoil it by saying how the book ends, but let’s just say it’s sappily sweet and way too perfect. All in all, I was quite disappointed in this book and was totally not worth it.