by Alex Flinn
Long Story Short:
While I was not too obsessed with this story - and don't think it's comparable to Beastly, which I loved - Cloaked was a different, entertaining fairy tale retelling. Flinn convinced me once again of her writing skills. The only thing that bothered me was how dragging the plot felt and how predictable it was in the end.
Review for You:
This book could have been really good. Like Flinn's Beastly, this was a fairy tale retelling really well done.
Again, I was impressed by how she managed to intertwine the actual plot, set in the modern world while still keeping up with the fairy tale - ish vibe. It was confusing at first, because the plot consisted of a mix of various old stories and I expected it to be just one. That problem was fixed pretty quickly, though, as the story went on and I became more and more involved in it. I adored the main character and his voice as a narrator. He was a nice and intelligent guy who would do almost everything for his mother and his friends. What I did not like all that much was that - as all the really great guys - he, of course, was bullied/ignored by the cool guys because he was poor. That idea is getting a bit old, I think.
His voice as a narrator reflected his personality quite well. Sometimes his thoughts were a bit too sarcastic, in my opinion, because that was not the way he talked to the other characters, but I guess that is just a minor flaw - if it had only been that, the story would have been perfect.
I'm afraid, that is not everything I disliked about Cloaked. The problem was not the plot itself, but combined with the length of the book, Flinn expected a bit too much of readers.
The problem is that a book featuring a quest cannot be too long or too detailed. If it is, the reader will get bored or just run out of endurance.
Yes, I cared for Johnny and I wanted him to win but after half of the book, I admit I lost patience and I didn't care if he'd get his princess or not. Also, I already knew. The ending was predictable -which again wouldn't have been so bad.
However, why should I be reading a book that bores me, that I don't really care for any more if I already know the ending? The characters,neither Johnny nor Meg - who turned out a bit flat, in my opinion and whose story was way too easy - made up for the dragging plot.
Enjoyable as in Beastly was Flinn's writing style. Very fluent and sometimes witty - it was perfect for getting into the story at the beginning.
All in all, this was a difficult book to review, because I originally thought I could give it a really good rating. As I said, the writing and general idea were great and convinced me that I should read even more Alex Flinn books. The problem I had was with the plot - it lacked variety and exciting moments. If you like journey books or quests, I can imagine you liking it anyway, and it did make for an entertaining read in the end.