temporaryworlds (temporaryworlds) wrote in bookish,
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#20 Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

“I like to think of myself as a criminal mastermind... with an unfortunate amount of bad luck.” Thus begins Calamity Jack, the sequel to Rapunzel's Revenge. Jack isn't exactly a bad guy, but he has always loved to craft schemes, leading him to spending his childhood as a petty thief. When Jack's mother falls into hard times, Jack knows that he needs to pull off the biggest scheme of his life. But when things go terribly wrong, he's forced to flee. Years later, he returns with intentions of redeeming himself, but his home city of Shyport has changed for the worst. With the help of Rapunzel, Jack knows that he needs to cook up more more scheme, and this time he cannot afford to fail.

In Rapunzel's Revenge, Jack was Rapunzel's romantic interest, and sidekick along with providing much of the comic relief. In Calamity Jack, he takes on the role of leading man very well. Perhaps what I like the most about Jack is the fact that he feels very true to life, despite the clockwork influenced fantasy setting. Jack is someone that's done some rotten things. Despite his intentions, people often get hurt as a result. In Calamity Jack, he tries to prove to both his mother and Rapunzel that he can be a good guy too. I found it interesting that in his quest to prove his worthiness for Rapunzel's love, he often ends up accidentally pushing her away. I felt like this made him feel more like a “real guy,” as I could see plenty of people making similar mistakes.

Calamity Jack is a retelling of the fairy tale Jack in the Beanstalk. I like how the author incorporates original elements of the fairy tale (Jack and the Beanstalk), into the main storyline. Another thing worth noting is the artwork (this is a graphic novel after all). While reading Rapunzel's Revenge, I found I had a few issues with the consistency of the artwork, as well as the clarity of some of the actions scenes. This is not an issue I had with Calamity Jack, although I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that that artist, now more used to drawing the characters, has improved, of that I've become more used to the art style. I liked Nathan Hales designs for some of the more monstrous characters, and found them really unique.

Calamity Jack is a great selection for those who have read and enjoyed Rapunzel's Revenge, and should appeal to new fans as well. I don't know if they're planning on writing a third book, but I will be reading it if they do.

Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 144 pages
Source: Readfield Community Library
Similar Books: the works of Gail Carson Levine, especially Ella Enchanted and Fairest
Other books I've read by this author: The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, Austenland, Book of a Thousand Days, Rapunzel's Revenge

xposted to temporaryworlds , bookish , and goodreads
Tags: author: h, genre: fantasy, review
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