Is it that hard to write a modern day Rapunzel retelling?
Yes and no. I sort of have an idea for one, but I’m not going to write in anytime soon because it currently has five thousand plot holes and probably would be too dark to be mainstream, but whatever. Those who have actually attempted to write one have succeeded somewhat (grant it, I only read two of these retellings and only one has actually sort of succeeded). Towering is not that book.
And yes, we’re deviating from my regular review format so you know what that means…
If you like this book, you probably want to run and duck for cover since I have nothing remotely positive to say about it except good idea. But unlike Cindy C. Bennet’s book, Rapunzel: Untangled, you don’t see the love for the subject matter here. It just seems written because Harper Teen saw that Tangled was a success and told Flinn to write a Rapunzel story.
I think to properly discuss the flaws of the story, we need to talk about the actual fairytale first. It’s not really that adaptable. Well, sort of. It is and it isn’t. There are a lot of things that a writer is going to have to contend with, with Rapunzel: Rapunzel’s stupidity, Mother’s control, the prince, the whole teen pregnancy thing (oh yeah, Rapunzel had twins in the original version), and the whole magic tears and hair that grows at an unusual rate. Do you see why I have like fifty plot holes with my WIP that will probably never be in existence?
Yeah, so I gave this one some leeway and it took it to its own advantage by relying on one of the biggest cliches in the YA world today: insta love.
I have my own theories about insta love. I generally its used as a crutch that has evolved into a trope. I can sort of understand when it’s used as a crutch because I think at one point every writer has used it. See the tons of shitty soul bond fan fics (i.e. insta love) on fanfiction.net
But Flinn doesn’t get the excuse of a newbie, she’s published tons of books. Especially fairytale retellings. You’d think the person who wrote Beastly-which actually had a love story with development-that she wouldn’t rely on insta love but no….
Look, I get the original fairytale sort of was insta love. But this is a retelling. Even Disney didn’t rely on insta love on this one. In fact, Tangled was one of the few Disney princess movies that didn’t use this trope. So WTF!?!?!?!?!
Maybe insta love was used because the characters didn’t meet each other until almost a hundred pages ( a third) of the book. And their meetings were just sort of annoying? Seriously, the MC cuts herself after meeting her one true love because she’s afraid he’ll never see her again.
Yes, I know people do a lot of stupid things for love, but this really annoyed me.
Yep, essentially Flinn relies on insta love to direct her characters actions. And it doesn’t work. Not at all. It didn’t help that that whole section of the book that occurred before the characters met, was unnecessary. Seriously. The kids that Josh hangs out with at New Year’s you barely see them again after that. Merely filler.
I also didn’t get a lot of the characters motivations in this one. Like why did Wyatt’s mother send him with Rachel’s grandmother? The grandmother was known as a creepy old lady in town, suspected of knocking off her daughter, and has been known to obsess over William Shattner’s Priceline Commercials (okay, Star Trek, but still). That should’ve been warning bells right there to Wyatt’s mom. And oh yeah, her kid probably needed to be in therapy too-you know, for witnessing his best friend and quasi girlfriend get their brains blown out by their over the top abusive stepfather.