Cloaked – Alex Flinn
Genre: YA; Fantasy; Re-imagined Fairytale
Summary: Johnny is a poor teenage boy who helps his family with expenses by working in a shoe store. On an otherwise ordinary day, he meets a princess who offers her hand in marriage if he can complete a quest to save someone that she loves. Will Johnny accept the challenge, and if he does, will he survive?
Review: I really enjoyed Beastly, another book written by Alex Flinn that re-imagined Beauty and the Beast, so I was pretty excited to read, Cloaked, too. Unfortunately, I found Cloaked to be rather underwhelming, and while it should have been a quick read for me, I struggled to get through it.
One of my biggest problems with this book was the pacing. Events plodded along at an extremely sluggish pace, and most of my time was spent hoping that things would pick up. Much to my chagrin, however, they never did. I can honestly say I was bored the entire time I read this. I wish I had the ability to stop reading books that I really don’t care for, but I’m one of those people who has to finish what she starts in the hopes that it might get better.
Along with the pacing, I also didn’t find this story to be very believable. I know it’s based on a fairytale, which requires one to suspend disbelief while one is reading, but something about it just didn’t sit right with me. Maybe there just wasn’t enough explanation for me, or at least explanations that made sense.
In the same vein, I didn’t really care for the animals with human qualities. Before you get too accusatory, I should point out that I’m a children’s librarian, so animals with human qualities are something I encounter on a daily basis, either through storytimes or readers’ advisory. I can’t really put my finger on what it was that I disliked so much about the animals in Cloaked, but something about them didn’t work for me. The animals just didn't seem real, even in this world of make believe.
The characters were also rather underwhelming. I didn’t like Johnny, the narrator, at all, which may explain my negative reaction to this book as a whole. His constant babbling about shoes drove me crazy! There was one character that was a saving grace for me, though: Meg. I thought Meg was pretty great and definitely authentic, and I was satisfied with the way everything turned out for her at the end of the story.
While I didn’t enjoy this book, I seem to be in the minority as it has received many glowing reviews from other people. If you are a fan of revisionist fairytales, you may like Cloaked, too. Even though this book wasn’t my cup of tea, I will definitely give Alex Flinn another try because I liked Beastly so much.
Other Books by Alex Flinn: Beastly, A Kiss in Time, Bewitching, Breathing Under Water, Diva, Nothing to Lose, Breaking Point, Fade to Black