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
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