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Reviews for Half upon a time

by by James Riley.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Jack dislikes princesses. But when one falls out of the sky, he gets swept up into adventure. Jack and Princess May are both related to famous fairy-tale characters, and they encounter other familiar figures on their journey. The lively, humor-filled story is chock-full of action, which keeps the intricate plot moving. An unresolved ending will leave readers eagerly anticipating a sequel. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

This fractured fairy tale features a hip contemporary voice but relies too heavily on relayed history. Opening with a line that captures both context and fabulously sardonic attitude--"Once upon a time, Jack wouldn't have been caught dead in a princess rescue"--Riley quickly establishes his protagonists: Jack, pragmatic but mopey, waiting for any chance to rescue a princess, and May, sporting blue-streaked hair, a cell phone and a Punk Princess T-shirt, who has dropped in from another realm. Jack assumes that May's a princess; May knows only that her grandmother was kidnapped. They set out to rescue grandma, picking up an elegant prince who annoys Jack by being competent. May's voice is more often feistily modern ("Then you went and got eaten! What's that about!?") than stilted (she describes grandma as "[s]o full of life"), but she's positioned within the narrative mainly to be fought over and protected. Unfortunately, plot twists and revelations all derive their meaning from past events in Jack's world, forcing the text to be so expository that emotional investment never quite catches up. (Fantasy. 8-10)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.