Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Series Review: Half Upon a Time by James Riley

Series Description:

Life’s no fairy tale for Jack. After all, his father's been missing ever since that incident with the beanstalk and the giant, and his grandfather keeps pushing him to get out and find a princess to rescue. Who'd want to rescue a snobby, entitled princess anyway? Especially one that falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and still denies she's royalty. In fact, May doesn't even believe in magic. Yeah, what's that about? May does need help though--a huntsman is chasing her, her grandmother has been kidnapped, and Jack thinks it’s all because of the Wicked Queen . . . mostly because May’s grandmother might just be the long-lost Snow White. Jack and May's thrillingly hilarious adventure combines all the classic stories—fractured as a broken magic mirror—into the first of an epic new series of novels for the ages.

My Thoughts:
I loved this series. The whole thing.  If you're a fan of the the show Once Upon a Time, where fairy tale characters are weaved into an intricate story, you will love this! Because it's not only intricate and well-thought-out with all the stories you've grown up with (all the Jack stories, the wicked queen stuff, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Peter Pan, the Pied Piper... I could go on) but it's also cute and clean and fun. And funny! I laughed so much. Seriously. Hilarious.

So there's Jack. He has the best sense of humor I have ever read in a character. How the author managed to get his sarcasm and wit across in these books is magical. I loved him. I don't remember how old he's supposed to be (13, 14?) but he's just the perfect early teenage boy. 

Then there's May. Admittedly, she was a bit annoying. She was rude and spoiled and treated people poorly. But she had a good heart. When she managed to not make biting sarcastic comments she was likable. Mostly. She got less annoying as the series progressed, thank goodness! So there's a plus. 

Phillip was heroic to the point of being annoying. Thankfully, he, too, got less annoying as the series continued. But he was also highly entertaining at the same time. All of the secondary characters were just amazing. My favorite group were the lost boys in Neverland. Oh my holy goodness, that whole story line was just awesome. So, so good. In fact, the entire series-long plot was perfect. There were areas in which I didn't know what was going to happen next but then everything would twist and turn and come back together in ways I never would have guessed. It kept me guessing. And surprised me. And I laughed! So much!

And, honestly, I don't remember discovering a single plot hole. Not one! Do you know how rare that is?!? Everything matched up and made sense in this fictional world and fit together so perfectly! I'm freaking out a little. I may go read it again right now. It was just so good. 

So, just to be clear, the plot was flawless. Just amazing. The characters were teenagery annoying but mostly I loved them. The author's sense of humor was fantastic. If I'm being honest I'd say I wished the characters were a bit older and there was a bit more romancey stuff. But it was for kids. And it was really great the way it was. The first two books didn't exactly have an ending--they were total cliffhangers--but the last book pulled it all together so wonderfully that I could almost consider this series just one long book and call it perfect. I loved it. I recommend it to everyone. And I wish Riley would write more cleverly hilarious books for me to read.

Sexual Content: None
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate (cartoonish fighting, some characters die, there is some blood, but nothing too gory)
Drugs/Alcohol: None
Half Upon a Time: 4/5 acorns
Twice Upon a Time: 4/5 acorns
Once Upon the End: 5/5 acorns
The whole series:

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