- Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-545-63826-5 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-545-64270-5 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 5-8
Morrison’s version of Rapunzel has no interest in being rescued, thank you very much, and she’s perfectly content to stay in her tower where her every need is met by her beloved Witch. So when Jack Beanstalker manages to trick Rapunzel out of her tower, she’s desperate to get away from the filthy “grounded” peasants and back to her elevated home; however, a powerful Red Fairy captures Rapunzel and tasks her with finding the Woodmother. Terrified that the fairy will kill Witch, Rapunzel agrees, and with Jack as her guide and her long braid in tow, she travels across the land of Tyme, facing down fearsome magical creatures and merciless bandits. It’s the revelations of the Woodmother, however, that end up being the greatest challenge to Rapunzel as she learns uncomfortable truths about herself, her history, and Witch. Morrison has a deft hand with both world-building and pacing, carefully constructing the geography and various politics of the fairy-tale world of Tyme in between chase scenes, bridge collapses, narrow escapes, and bargains with all sorts of devious beings. Rapunzel and Jack have an easy, witty banter going as they quest, adding a much appreciated dollop of humor to their tale, but the beating heart of this story lies with Rapunzel, whose love for Witch remains steadfast even as she discovers the woman’s monstrous deeds. Their final encounter is a devastating display of the complexities of love and the virtue of forgiveness, giving this fractured fairy tale a surprisingly deep emotional element. Fans of the recent Maleficent and readers who are wise enough to understand that there is more than one side to a story will find this to their liking.