Published by Scholastic Press on August 25, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
It's a fairy-tale nightmare . . .
One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she's given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles -- and if she pricks her finger, she'll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .
A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate's world. She's not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother's house in the woods -- and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can't get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what's happened.
Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention -- even though the girl's stepmother would rather he didn't. It's up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that's far from happy.
Dead Upon A Time is set in a fairy tale world that is a little darker and a little more twisted than the fairy tales we all remember as kids. And in this world, children are being taken and tortured in creepy ways. I liked (and maybe liked is the wrong word because that makes me sound kind of sadistic) that the children were each tortured in a unique way to their particular story. One was forced to eat a poison apple over and over again, others were cooked alive, etc. Dead Upon a Time is the story of Jack and Kate, two outcasts in the village that embark on a quest to save the children, and Kate’s grandmother.
Dead Upon a Time is a very quick read that I think would appeal to a younger crowd of young adult readers as well as older readers who are fans of grimm brothers, once upon a time series, and twisted fairy tale re-tellings. I loved the interplay in Elizabeth Paulson’s world between uncommon people v. the concept of evil, v. witches. We got to see some of the differences, but I wish that this was explored a bit more. Maybe in another book. HintHintWinkWinkElizabeth.
I was the most interested in why these children were being tortured and more of the history surrounding their chosen methods. Did the kidnapper know about their fairy tales, or was this the way their tales might have played out instead? A lot is left up to the reader to ponder, which made Dead Upon a Time a unique read. Much of the book was focused on the rescue journey. I loved learned about the world through the journey, and how evil and magic manifested itself. It was a very quick and fun read.
Kate sees glimpses of the children through visions or flashes throughout their journey, but that is almost all we saw of them until the very end. I wanted to see a bit more on the actual rescue and what was going on, at the kidnappers end. I think there is a great book told from the kidnappers or the kidnapped children eyes, as a companion piece. Fans of darker and more twisted fairy tales will like this spin on the classics. I thought it was a great read. One you can finish in only a few short hours, and there was little to no romance, which makes it suitable for readers of all ages. Check out Dead Upon a Time if you dare. Happy ending not guaranteed. 😉
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