17. Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale

Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale. Illustrated by Nathan Hale (Canada) -(US)
sequel to Rapunzel's Revenge

Pages: 144
Ages: 10+
Finished: Jan. 31, 2010
First Published: Jan. 5, 2010
Genre: graphic novel, YA, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

I think of myself as a criminal mastermind ... with an unfortunate amount of bad luck.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group Canada.

Reason for Reading: Sequel to Rapunzel's Revenge.

Summary: This is very much Jack's story. Jack tells us of his childhood and his schemes as he grew up, later with his pixie cohort Prudence. Then comes the fateful day that he grows the beanstalk, steals a giant's magic goose and as he chops the beanstalk down he kills one of the giants, plus the building his mother lived in and ran her bakery from. Now the giants are after him and he leaves town. In one frame we're shown that this where the events of Rapunzel's Revenge fit in Jack's own timeline. Now that the time is right Jack returns to the city with Rapunzel where they meet up with Prudence and a strange young man with many gadgets and the foursome must save Jack's mother who has been captured by the giants and enslaved as their cook, but they must also end the oppressive giant rule and the current war with the ant people.

Comments: An adventure filled plot from start to finish that doesn't let go. As well as all the action we have a bit of a romance going on as well as the new guy likes Rapunzel and charms her with his smooth talking. Jack realizes he doesn't like this and a little love triangle is at work with some humorous moments involved. Rapunzel, again, is ever the hero. In fact, it is assumed that she is the fighter of the team and she takes that roll with grace and authority. Her part in the story is relegated to a secondary character though with Jack and Prudence being the main central characters. Quite an intricate plot that includes a couple of shocking twists, this is sure to please the intended audience and fans of the first book. However, this book stands alone very well and I'd say it is not necessary to have read Rapunzel's Revenge first to understand this book. Though I always do like to recommend reading books in order, if possible. The illustrations are just as gorgeous as one would expect them to be from Nathan Hale. A riproaring adventure with steampunk elements that will have readers begging for more from this trio.


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