My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Utilizing a myriad of faerie tales, Alex Flinn writes a story about Johnny, a young man who works practically full time at his family’s shoe repair shop to help his mother make ends meet. He really takes the bulk of this responsibility on, especially because his mother works 2 jobs and still waits for his father, who disappeared years ago, to walk through the door at any minute. The fact that they are in a desperate situation really hits home when he goes home to find that the electricity has been turned off…again. So when he is offered a mission by the princes of __?__ to find her brother who has been turned into a frog, despite his reservations on her sanity (she THINKS her brother is now a FROG), he is finding that the benefits of this offer are just too good to pass up. It doesn’t take Johnny long to figure out that everything that the Princess had claimed is true when she hands him a magic cloak that will take him where ever he wishes. Soon he is off on the adventure of his life time. He is soon joined by his best friend, Meg, and between the two of them – they find the frog and are able to save the day, but of course not without trouble.
Honestly, I saw that Alex Flinn was writing another book, and got excited. I think I was first in line in the library’s copy of the audio book. I do love modern versions of faerie tales, and Alex does a great job with them. Cloaked was a good book. It was very cute and silly, and at times a little bit cheesy, but that doesn’t really take away from the appeal of the book. This is not a “serious” book – when you sit down and read (or listen in my case) you’re in for a light, fun ride. If you don’t expect more, then you’ll be satisfied.
The title of the book threw me a bit. I was a little surprised that this book was a retelling of Princess and the Frog (and others) and not Little Red Riding Hood – I hadn’t read the summary at all, I just saw the book, downloaded it and got started. I guess that is a good thing since Red is a bit popular right now, and it would undoubtedly gotten compared with the current book/movie.
I enjoyed Johnny as the main guy. I thought he was honest and fun, if not a bit slow on the uptake at times. He does have his heart in the right place, his mother being a major priority in his life. But especially at the beginning, he really seemed to think that money was the only and best solution to any and all of this problems. So this makes Meg’s role even more perfect, because she helps to balance him out completely.
I would speak to the other characters of this book, but there were so many and compared to Johnny and Meg, they played very minor roles in the grand scheme of things. There really was so much going on in this book – even more than I realized. At the end of the audiobook there was a breakdown of all the different Tales that were used and a basic summary of each one. I was glad to know I knew many, and was surprised still by some of the others I didn’t know.