Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Cloaked by Alex Flinn
Published: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 341
Received: borrowed audio book from library

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.
This was an amazing mash-up of a multitude of fairy tales. Throughout the book we stumble upon retellings of many classic and lesser known tales -  "The Elves and the Shoemaker," "The Frog Prince," "The Six Swans," "The Golden Bird," and "The Brave Little Tailor." I love how Ms. Flinn updates and changes the tales to blend together into one amazing journey. 

The hero, Johnny, is teenage a shoemaker, working in his family's shop and trying to help his mother make ends meet. He is the epitome of a responsible and reliable teenager, until he meets Princess Victoriana. Johnny suddenly goes from living a boring life to a full on adventure of a lifetime, all to help a princess in distress. Johnny takes chances that he would never have imagined before, he learns more about who he really is and figures out that nothing is ever as it seems. Johnny sure gets the experience of a lifetime - talking animals, finding out that magic exists, and traveling in unconventional ways. 

I think my favourite character in the book has to be Meg, Johnny's best friend. She is smart, sassy and practical. Meg has been secretly in love with him forever and has been waiting for him to realize she is right here in front of him. Will Johnny end up with the European princess or magically fall in love with Meg? 

The entire story is very lighthearted and very comedic in tone. It contains nothing that would make me consider this for older audiences and I think it could actually be read to people of all ages. It was such an enjoyable read and I don't think it should be taken as seriously as I've seen others mentioning.  I also think it was enjoyable to me as I listened to the audio book version while driving a long distance, something nice and easy for the drive.

Oh and did I mention the shoes? The princess is a fashionista, Johnny is an aspiring shoe designer, and there are many quotes about shoes popping up all over the place throughout this book. This was a really fun aspect incorporated into the story.

I really like that the author added notes at the end to reference the different fairy tales that the story was based upon as I recognized a few and others I had no idea about. It's a great reference and I plan to look up quite a few to read for myself.

About the author:

Alex Flinn is the author of nine novels including Beastly, a #1 New York Times bestseller which has been made into a motion picture. She has two other fairy tale-based novels, A Kiss in Time and Cloaked. Her first book, Breathing Underwater, was named an ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults and is the only novel included in Liz Clairborne’s “Love is Not Abuse” dating violence prevention curriculum for schools. Her books have received honors including Best Books for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, International Reading Association Young Adult Choices, and Junior Library Guild selection. She is a non-practicing attorney who lives with her husband, daughters, and way too many pets in Miami, Florida. Her latest novel, Bewitching: The Kendra Chronicles is a companion to Beastly.

Alex Flinn Website

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