Think you know paranormal romance? Alex Flinn gives the genre a twist in this modern fairy-tale mash-up!
Johnny’s not your average hero. But a little magic changes everything. There isn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. It all starts with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess. And before Johnny knows it, he is on a mission in the Evergladws, with only a flock of swans and a talking fox named Joe to help guide him against the forces of an evil witch.
It’s pretty hard to tell from the synopsis of Cloaked what it’s going to be about, but the term “fairy-tale mash-up” is incredibly apt. There’s an authors note at the end of the ARC where Flinn talks about her love of Grimm’s fairy tales and she says “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” “The Frog Prince,” “The Six Swans,” “The Golden Bird,” “The Valiant Tailor” and “The Fisherman and His Wife” are all incorporated in Cloaked. Phew! Sounds like with all of that background, things could get messy, right? On the contrary, friends. Flinn’s novel is a fast-paced read that had me wanting to know what happened.
I have to admit that when I first started reading Cloaked, I was a little confused, but the sense of espionage surrounding the story intrigued me. It seemed like Flinn was trying to connect a couple of vastly different storylines, and I had no idea how she was going to do it. By the end of the novel, each element of the story fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. There were definitely a couple of curveballs that I did not see coming, which I think is a result of not being especially familiar with any of the fairy tales included in this story. Maybe someone who is a hardcore Grimm brothers fan would fill totally different.
Unfortunately, what stopped me from really enjoying this novel was Johnny, the main character. I loved that he was a straight guy who was so into shoes. Thank you, Alex Flinn, for breaking a gender stereotype! Yet as he ventured and looked for the frog, I kept wondering when he was going to learn. He seemed a bit too quick to trust others, and after a while that got frustrating. While this is certainly understandable once or twice in any given plot, Johnny’s behavior felt too repetitious for me to feel sorry for him. He also frustrated me a bit in terms of the romance of the story, but at least he eventually caught on there. However, I thought Meg was a great character, and I adored several of the minor characters. Flinn definitely gave them some snappy one-liners.
While it may not look like it from the cover, Cloaked is a quick, feel good read. However, it may not satisfy those who know Grimms’ fairy tales really well, because they might be able to guess everything that’s going to happen. I was glad to remember some stories that I had forgotten about and escape into Flinn’s world for a couple hundred pages. If you like light-hearted fairy tale spin-offs or reading about shoes, be sure to pick this one up.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.