Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson--Book Review

In Melanie Dickerson's later fairy tale re-telling, The Golden Braid, Rapunzel is on her way to Hagenheim with her mother, Gothel, after a village farmer proposed to her. All her life, her mother told her to be wary of men--that they would only hurt her. She's learned to throw knives to protect herself, so when they are attacked on the road, she does her best to save her mother. But they still need rescued from a local knight, Sir Gerek. This encounter thrusts Rapunzel into a high-stakes adventure full of love, learning to read, and dark secrets.

My first reaction upon finishing this book was mixed. On one side, I thought it was a decent re-telling with some interesting points. First off, Rapunzel can throw knives. Knives, people. She isn't afraid to defend herself or the ones she loves. Plus, her desire to read is touching. She also likes to paint and sing, which give her character fuller development.

The setting, of course, is lovely as ever. The details, the dialogue, the actions, they all fit into the medieval-esque world seen in Dickerson's other novels. This was the strongest development for the novel. The story also closely connects with the other re-tellings as well, specifically the events in The Princess Spy (book five). I would advise reading her others books before dipping your toes into this story.

However, I couldn't look past some of the obvious flaws as I read. Some of the plot fell into place too easily. I would have liked more build-up for Rapunzel being the lost princess (since it's such an obvious reveal if anyone knows the Rapunzel story-line in any form). There are a few cliche moments scattered throughout, such as the "beauty at first sight" moment even when she's covered in dirt, blood, and sweat. A lot of writing is bogged down by Rapunzel's thought processes instead of her doing something. She spends a lot of time avoiding asking the important questions.

Overall, this is an enjoyable and decent re-telling of a beloved story. Sure, I still think I'll choose the Disney version as my favorite still, but this one does a decent job (especially without magic). I'd definitely recommend it for middle grade and early high school students (it is YA after all) and anyone who'd enjoy a simple tale of love, adventure, and danger.

And hey, it's a fairy tale! It's allowed to fall into place easily.

-Jaime

I received this book for free through BookLook from Thomas Nelson publishing to give my open and honest opinion of the story, nothing more and nothing less.

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