In between sections of Les Mis last week, I picked up the far lighter Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale. I’ve loved Shannon Hale’s novels, and naturally I was intrigued by a graphic novel retelling of “Rapunzel”–and apparently one with a very awesome heroine.
Happily, I was not disappointed. This takes “Rapunzel” as its jumping-off point, but mostly tells an original story. Mother Gothel did steal Rapunzel as a small child, but in this version she’s using her magic to rule over the surrounding country, and keeping Rapunzel’s real mother as a slave in her mines. When Rapunzel discovers the truth and reacts defiantly, Mother Gothel locks her up in a tower…where an effect of Mother Gothel’s growth magic causes Rapunzel’s hair to get longer and longer. This Rapunzel rescues herself, and sets off to fight Mother Gothel and free her mother, joining forces with a good-hearted if slightly inept young man named Jack for a series of adventures.
There’s a bit of an Old West flair to this magical world, not the least in Rapunzel’s outfit. She puts her hair into two braids and uses them as ropes or as whips, as the situation calls for it. The idea of Rapunzel using her hair as a weapon is pretty awesome. It’s a little similar to Tangled, but this Rapunzel has a lot more control of her hair than Disney’s Rapunzel.
I rather enjoy the gender role reversal too. Jack has his talents, but he’s not as good a fighter as Rapunzel–and seems to be remarkably well-adjusted about that fact. They’re clearly partners and mutually respect each other…and it’s fun to see the girl be the more aggressive half of the partnership.
This is an excellent, light retelling of a fairy tale–with an awesome, braid-toting heroine! I’ve already got the sequel on request from the library.
Author’s Site: www.shannonhale.com
Buy it here: Rapunzel’s Revenge