Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: The World Above by Cameron Dokey

The World above is the retelling of the widely known tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. But what you didn't know is that Jack has a sister, Gen, and she is the real hero of the story.

Jack and Gen are twins. They are raised by their mother who tells them stories of the mythical place she came from, The World Above. She was exiled as a young woman and has no way to get home. When an old woman gives Jack magic beans, everyone sees them for what they are: a way to return to the World Above. It's also proof that Mother's stories were more than just stories. Jack, eager for adventure, climbs the beanstalk to find a way to return his family to what is rightfully theirs. When time goes by and Jack doesn't return, Gen knows it's up to her to save her brother.

But wait, there's more. Along the way, Gen meets, Robin, a prince who lives in the forest, steals from the rich and gives to the poor. That's right, Robin Hood meets Jack in the Beanstalk.

I must say at first I was a little irritated, but soon I was delighted. The stories mesh seamlessly, and no mention of "Robin Hood," "Merry Men," or "Little John," is anywhere in the book. For some reason, that satisfied me. Dokey's writing is, as always, smooth and flowing. She masterfully creates a vision with only a few sentences. Gen is a serious young woman who points out her own flaws and does not apologize for them. The characters are interesting, the story is short and sweet. Nicely done.

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