* * 1/2
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.
I had read Cindy Bennett’s Geek Girl when it came out and I really enjoyed it. So much so that is was in my Top Ten of 2011. So when we received a request to read and review her new novel, Rapunzel Untangled, I jumped at the chance.
Fairytale retellings are hit or miss for me. Even though I had read a book by this author before, Rapunzel Untangled is such a different type of story from Geek Girl that I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The story started out interestingly enough. We read from Gothel’s point of view when she first sees Rapunzel and decides that the baby with the long beautiful hair must be hers. It was creepy enough to me. Probably because I am a mother and just the thought of someone taking my children makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.
After that, the story is told in Rapunzel’s point of view. I felt like Rapunzel was not socially awkward enough for someone that has only had communication with one person and that has never seen the outside world. Sure, there were moments where she was confused by phrases, words and ideas. But I guess I expected more awkwardness to go along with that ignorance and innocence. I think maybe I was a little spoiled by the book Room by Emma Donoghue. Her depiction of someone growing up isolated was done with such intensity and thoroughness that my expectations are pretty high.
Then there was Fane. He was likeable enough. He was kind of a tool but nice. And he had good intentions. The problem I had was the romance. Boy saves the girl scenarios don’t usually bother me too much. They aren’t my favorite but at the same time I can separate the fantasy from the reality enough to enjoy it. But the story of Rapunzel? A girl locked in a tower who then falls in love with the first person she ever meets? It just seems so predatory of the hero. This isn’t Cindy Bennett’s fault. This is a problem I have with the story of Rapunzel. The romance is just as creepy as the girl being held hostage. I think I would really like to read a retelling of Rapunzel where another girl saves the girl in the tower and they become life long friends.
The middle of this book was great. When Rapunzel and Fane started exploring the house things began to happen. There was plenty of suspense and mystery. It was pretty dark. But then how could it not when a girl has been kidnapped and kept locked in a tower by a crazy person? This was the strong part of the story and I really enjoyed it. So much that I hated to put it down. I felt that the ending played out a little too easy and was a little too romantic - see my above noted issues with the Rapunzel romance - but it fit well with the rest of the story.
All in all, if you enjoy the story of Rapunzel you will probably enjoy Rapunzel Untangled.
Thank you to Cindy Bennett and Sweetwater (imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing) for giving us the opportunity to read and review this story.