Review: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett

Review: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett
Rapunzel Untangled
by Cindy Bennett

Genres: Paranormal, Retelling, Young Adult
Publication date: February 12, 2013
by Inc.

Format: eARC

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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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating: 3.5 / 5

First of all, I’d like to say (even though it’s highly unnecessary… haha) that Rapunzel is one of my favorite fairy tales, ever. That’s why Disney’s adaptation of it entitled “Tangled” is very precious to me. So when I chanced upon this book on NG, I immediately grabbed the opportunity to read and review it. I read that it was a modern adaptation of the said tale, and I thought to myself, “A modern retelling?! Well, that sounds exciting!” Adaptations are oftentimes hard to pull off successfully and compellingly, and writing a story in an entirely different setting while still retaining the elements that made the original so beloved even more. But I hoped and prayed that this one would do it for me. I mean, it has Facebook, hello?! Not that I patronize this information-selling website, but still, that’s quirky enough. Unfortunately, despite all my Rapunzel love, I didn’t like it enough to give it 4-5 stars.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the book is bad. It was good. It was a cute and refreshing revamping of Rapunzel, with some traditional elements retained – there’s still the amazingly long blonde hair, the tower where the heroine is confined in, the evil Gothel, the prince who comes in to save her, etc. etc… I won’t be surprised if there’ll be many people who’ll love this adaptation. I really wanted to like it, and there were a lot of good stuff, too, but they are few in comparison to the other things that bothered me.

First, the Facebook thing. Man. At first, I thought it would be interesting to see how it would play out or how the author would incorporate it in a fairy tale adaptation. I remember the time when I first explored this social media tool, and needless to say, it was an invigorating feeling, but that’s because I added people I knew in real life. Why would I want to be friends with with some random person on the net? o_o Rapunzel, in this novel, did just that, and while I did think it was bizarre, I shrugged it off, thinking, “Well, I know several who added strangers based on their profile pictures online, so that’s a little bit realistic, I guess!” but what made it even weirder were the conversations that ensued after that. x_x They were unbelievable at best. I mean, do you think a conversation like this would actually happen between two strangers on facebook:

“Hi, mysterious friend. There isn’t much info on your page. Who are you, RG?”

“Hi, Fab Fane Flannigan. I don’t mean to be mysterious. You wouldn’t know who I am, but I live in the same city as you. I don’t go to your school.”

“Ahh, the mystery deepens. You say you don’t go to my school, indicating that you are my age, anyway. Are you? Or are you one of those creepy stalkers who hunts down innocent children on the Internet and invites them into the back of your van for some candy?”

“I assure you I am not a stalker!”

“Just what a stalker would say.”

“I am NOT a stalker. I am a seventeen-year-old girl.”

“Well, that makes sense then. All the girls want me.”

*cringe*

Sure, it’s fiction, and maybe girls and boys who suddenly chanced upon each other in a fictional setting would converse like that, but it was seriously silly, and I couldn’t get past how unbelievable their first exchange was. It doesn’t help that the succeeding conversations were just as awkward and unconvincing as the first one, making their online chats sometimes boring. I didn’t want to do it, but I oftentimes found myself skimming to get past them, knowing they’ll meet each other anyway.

And they did, and it got better after that. Since Rapunzel was extremely sheltered and inexperienced about life in general, I found her fascination on new things like chocolate, pizza, and poker endearing. She was able to broaden her horizons, learn new things, and consider more possibilities to do with her life. She started to yearn and long for something more, beyond the walls of the tower she has been confined in for most of her life, and I think these changes as well as her transformation were the strongest aspects of the book. Fane, on the other hand, seemed to me a dull character overall. He was your average too-good-to-be-true guy who’s kind, strong, caring, and who’d risk his life for you, especially someone he met on the internet. But let’s give him credit, he did try to get to know Rapunzel better, and he was the one who opened the entire world for her, so kudos to that. The process of Rapunzel’s transformation was a pleasure to read, and I actually thought that after all the things she learned and realized, she’d have more balls and do something about her situation. Like, you know, standing up for herself and fighting the big, mean witch. But this didn’t happen, and she still remained the helpless damsel in distress ’til the very end. :(

I also felt uneasy with all the magic incorporated in this novel. It was a modern adaptation, so I was extremely hoping that it would become a contemporary read. Unfortunately, there are witches and warlocks and even kame hame waves rays of light bursting from the palms of the hands, and that really turned me off. How is this a modern retelling? The only modern stuff here are facebook, pizzas, cars and halloween parties. Of course, this doesn’t mean the paranormal aspect was bad… it just disappointed me because it seemed like a lazy attempt to resolve issues… having a more realistic retelling in a modern setting would have been phenomenal. Up until 75%, you get the contemporary fiction vibes and then we have warlocks, superpowers, ability to erase memories, 666, and the like. That’s pretty vague and inconsistent, if you ask me :|

Overall, I still did enjoy this book to give it 3.5 stars. If the things I stated turn you off, you may want to proceed with caution. But if you don’t mind cringe-worthy dialogues that appear in the beginning, as well as hazy fantasy/paranormal elements in what felt like a contemporary setting, then go right ahead. I reckon it will be an enjoyable and memorable ride. There have been many glowing reviews for this particular book, there were just newer elements that I felt weren’t necessary.

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Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena