Title: What Once Was Mine
Author: Liz Braswell
Pub. Date: September 7, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy Retellings
The 12th installment in the New York Times best-selling series asks: What if Rapunzel’s mother drank a potion from the wrong flower?
Desperate to save the life of their queen and her unborn child, the good people of Corona search for the all-healing Sundrop flower to cure her—but mistakenly acquire the shimmering Moondrop flower instead. Nonetheless it heals the queen, and she delivers a healthy baby girl with hair as silver and gray as the moon. With it comes dangerous magical powers: the power to hurt, not heal. For her safety and the safety of the kingdom, Rapunzel is locked in a tower and put under the care of powerful goodwife, Mother Gothel.
For eighteen years Rapunzel stays locked away, knowing she must protect others from her magical hair. But when she leaves the only home she’s ever known, wanting only to see the floating lights that appear on her birthday, she gets caught up in an adventure across the kingdom with two thieves—a young woman named Gina, and Flynn Rider, a rogue on the run. Before she can reach her happy ending, Rapunzel learns that there may be more to her story, and her magical tresses, than she ever knew.
This will be a short spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’m just kind of “meh” about this book. It wasn’t bad, but really didn’t entice me as much as I expected it to. I ended up listening to the second half of this book on Audible and that made the book go by faster and mildly more interesting. The narrator was pretty good at voicing the characters and making them feel more real. But still, overall, wasn’t that impressed or hooked.
I think I might say this every time I read one of these Twisted Tales books – but they’re really not “twisted”. I guess this one was the most “twisted” in the sense that the story is kind of spun around and flipped on its head, but it lost the magic that is Tangled.
I can’t explain what exactly, but everything I love about Tangled – the magic of it – was lost in this book. Even the formatting was off-putting. I know the formatting and the narrative outside of the Tangled retelling is sentimental to the author, very personal, but I constantly pulled me from the story.
I also wasn’t a fan of how much history was included in the book. I grew bored.
I guess I just wanted the feeling, and the magic Tangle gives me, and I didn’t get it from this book. It was long, the formatting kept pulling me out of the story, and too much real history was included. It stopped feeling like a magical fantasy adventure, and now that I think of it, more like Ever After.
And Ever After isn’t a bad movie – in fact, I love it. But the vibes are very different, and I don’t think Tangled is conducive to it.
The formatting is reminiscent of the Princess Bride, the feeling was Ever After and the characters felt like a mix of Tangled and Tangled: Ever After. It was a weird mix, where the magic got lost in the everything else-ness of the book, and I don’t think it worked.