Friday, August 5, 2016

The Rose and the Balloon (Once Upon a Twist Tales)

Title: The Rose and the Balloon 

Series: Once Upon a Twist Tales (Book #1)

Year: 2016

Author: Kirsten Fichter

Summary: In a kingdom where fauna and flora are held in higher esteem than breakfast, Dmitri is a prince who yearns for change and plans it in a single daring act that will alter his life forever. However, when his demented mother accidentally causes the destruction of a prized garden of roses, Dmitri is horrified when she proposes his hand in marriage to make up for it. Not only will a wife hamper his glorious plans, he doesn't even want one. 

Janelle has spent her whole life on her father's rose farm, tending the roses and staying simple. But she really yearns for something greater than the flower beds. But now there's a wrench thrown in the works – the crazy Queen Maeva wants her to marry the prince, and all for ruining her father's beloved roses.

This is Beauty and the Beast with a twist like you've never seen it before. (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Janelle Roux
~ Prince Dmitri

Review: Is there a law against writing a book review for a book you wrote yourself? I surely hope not, because here I am doing just that.

Most Beauty and the Beast stories start off with Beauty's father plucking a single rose from the Beast's garden. This story, however, takes everything you know about the classic fairy tale and turns it upside-down on its head. Right off the bat, we're introduced to our Beast character, the Crown Prince Dmitri, who stands in the shadow of his mentally handicapped mother, affectionately dubbed "Crazy Maeva." Her latest, childish obsession is hot air balloons and she's quite determined to fly one day. Unfortunately, the science has not been quite perfected so that she can. 

But instead of the Beast catching Beauty's father in theft, it's the Beast's own mother who commits the crime with the rose. Or roses, rather. An accident with the balloon leads to the destruction of Beauty's/Janelle's home and her father's garden of prized roses. From there, it's just a tumble downhill and upside-down into the rabbit hole world of Rohesia, where roses are held in the highest honor. Janelle, for herself, doesn't think much of roses. And she thinks even less of the prince... who ends up her sudden betrothed. 

My favorite characters hands down are Dmitri's younger siblings, the twins Nicolas and Nicoline. They are the most mischievous twelve-year-olds you ever saw, and they have a competition between the two of them to outprank/kill each other. Of course, the entrance of Janelle only makes the competitions better, and both enlist her in the efforts to top the other. This leads to one of the best scenes (which just so happens to be a jab back to the original Disney classic film with a dancing feather duster). 

So, who needs to read this book? Well, I hope everyone would need to read this book. I wrote it, after all. It's a short, fun, family-friendly, fairy tale adventure with roses and hot air balloons (duh -- that's literally the title), that holds all the classic elements of Beauty and the Beast but twists everything into a completely new story. 

When sitting down to read this story, I suggest you bring along a hot cup of your favorite beverage (I prefer coffee, but you may go for tea or hot chocolate) as well as a sturdy helmet. Nicolas may be hiding somewhere above you with a cream pie. 

Advisory: Mild peril. A few characters use the expression blast/blasted

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars