I’m thrilled to be taking part in the Once Upon Another Time Book Tour, hosted by Turn The Page Tours. Check out my review below!
Once Upon Another Time
By James Riley
Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
April 5, 2022
Hardcover ~ Paperback ~ Kindle ~ Audiobook
Storybook characters collide in this first book in a new trilogy of twisted fairy tales from New York Times bestselling author James Riley, set in the world of his popular Half Upon a Time series—perfect for fans of Fablehaven and Chris Colfer’s A Tale of Magic series!
Five and a half feet might seem pretty tall for a twelve-year-old, but it’s not when your parents are giants. Lena has kept the fact that she’s a tiny giant secret, using magic to grow when out in the giant village. But hiding who she is has always felt wrong, even though she knows the other giants might not accept her.
Fortunately, Lena has friends down in the Cursed City who understand that looking different doesn’t make her less of a giant. Someone who knows not to judge by appearances is Jin, a young genie currently serving one thousand and thirty-eight years of genie training that requires him to fulfill the wish of whoever holds his magical ring.
In Jin’s case, it’s the power-hungry Golden King. At least the king only has two wishes left, one of which is for Jin to go to the Cursed City and capture its protector, the Last Knight—one of Lena’s closest friends.
What Lena and Jin don’t know is how close the Golden King’s plans are to coming together, between his dark magic and his horrible Faceless knights. If Jin does find the Last Knight and bring him to the Golden King, why, that could doom the entire fairy-tale world.
…This sounds like it’ll end badly, doesn’t it?
Such an enjoyable read! James Riley takes fairytale tropes to a whole new level. Are the villains really the bad guys? I haven’t read the first series that this branches off from, with that being said I wasn’t confused or feeling like I missed anything. We follow Jin and Lena. Jin is a genie who isn’t really happy with his circumstances, he feels constricted and not living to his fullest magical abilities. Lena is a giant, but at only 5’2″ she’s not allowed to be who she really is – forced to pretend she’s human. These two are about to cross paths… I love how the chapters take turns between Jin & Lena, it adds so much depth to each character. The world building is phenomenal, especially for Middle Grade – however it’s still easy enough to grasp. The pacing is fairly steady, speeding up at just the right moments. This is my first time reading Riley’s works, but I’ll be checking out his other ones very soon as well as the continuation of this one. Overall, I loved it and Riley now has a new fan!
About The Author
James Riley is the New York Times bestelling author of the HALF UPON A TIME series, the STORY THIEVES series, and the REVENGE OF MAGIC series. Contrary to what previous biographies have stated, he is a) real and b) not the character Nobody from his STORY THIEVES books.
Where would people even get that idea? (Spoiler: From him. He totally made it sound like he really was Nobody. He thought it’d be funny. We’re sorry.) He was born in Connecticut, where he lived for only a short time before moving to … well, quite a few states. He currently lives in Northern Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C., because that’s where his cats are. He has four of them. Other people think that’s a bit much.
James is currently working on getting REVENGE OF MAGIC books out every six months, so he might be a little busy. But feel free to e-mail him with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ask on his blog. (Please don’t send book or series ideas, as I can’t use them legally!)
Huge thanks to Turn The Page Tours, Simon & Schuster, and James Riley for my gifted copy. Grab you copy below!
Have a great weekend!