Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The World Above: A Retelling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" by Cameron Dokey [REVIEW]

The World Above: A Retelling of
"Jack and the Beanstalk"
(Once Upon a Time)
by Cameron Dokey

Summary from Goodreads:

“Gen and her twin brother, Jack, were raised with their mother's tales of life in the World Above. Gen is skeptical, but adventureous Jack believes the stories--and trades the family cow for magical beans. Their mother rejoices, knowing they can finally return to their royal home.When Jack plants the beans and climbs the enchanted stalk, he is captured by the tyrant who now rules the land. Gen sets off to rescue her borther, but danger awaits her in the World Above. For finding Jack may mean losing her heart...”


When I first saw the World Above [seeing a girl on the cover], which was described as a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” I thought the retelling was going to go something like this: Jack is really a girl who disguised herself as a boy then went up a beanstalk. Well, I couldn’t be more wrong; my bad. Turns out the World Above is actually a retelling in which Gen, our main character, is the twin sister of Jack. And this is supposedly the true story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Now let me give a little intro on how the book started off:

"...Whose name do you see there? Just Jack's. It doesn't mention me at all. Not only that, it gives you the impression there was only one beanstalk, when in fact, there were many. I'm thinking it's time to set the record straight. To share the true story...It begins with the way all good tales do. With Once upon a time..."

Catchy, huh? Leave it to Cameron Dokey to create a very unique twist to a classic tale. I guess that’s why I keep coming back to this series (even though I’m not whole heartedly satisfied with the other books).  I also like that this series often enables to incorporate two tales within one story. This wasn’t just about Jack and the Beanstalk, there’s also that surprising appearance of a certain infamous thief. I’ll give you a clue: he steals from the rich and gives to the poor.

I like this book. But overtime, reading from this series and knowing the main agenda of majority of the books (which is, to simply put it: “love conquers all”), you kind of get too used to where it will be leading you in the end. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it is good, really; a very important lesson even, but it comes out common once you get to read a lot of these books. It kind of loses the element of surprise and fascination. Still, I wouldn’t let it stop me from reading all the books from the Once Upon a Time series.


  1. I've lost my faith on fairy tale retellings, aside from Red by Kate Serine. I haven't read another good adaptation since.

    1. Aww... well, I can't say I blame you. It is kind of hard to find a retelling that really leave a mark. :)


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