Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz
I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.
It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.
There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.
Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked.
Have you ever read a story and when you closed it, came to the conclusion that you had wasted so much of your valuable time even though it might have only been a few hours? That is how I felt with Cloaked. I was completely under-whelmed and left disappointed at the author’s attempt of yet another fairy tale story retelling.
Cloaked follows seventeen year old Johnny, who oddly enough, aspires to be a shoe designer. Currently, he is working in the family business of shoe repair which is located within a hotel in South Beach, Florida. He works sixteen hours a day (it’s summer) to help his mom pay bills since his dad had gone missing years before. But even with Johnny working sixteen hours a day and his mom working two jobs, they still find it difficult to catch up and make ends-meet.
As Johnny daydreams of a life he believes he’ll never be able to have, shocking news grabs his attention: a real life princess has come to town and will be staying at the very hotel he is employed to. Johnny thinks Princess Victoriana can be his key to escaping his humdrum life and erasing his money problems for good. Soon enough though, Johnny finds himself thrown into an adventure he hadn’t quite bargained for. Princess Victoriana claims her brother had been turned into a frog by an evil witch and she needs Johnny to find him to save her from marrying the evil witch’s son and ruining her kingdom. Johnny agrees because, really, he has nothing promising going on in his life at the moment. So with the prospect of not only gaining a great fortune from the princess to help ease his financial load but also with the added bonus of marrying her, Johnny sets out to find her brother and free him from his curse.
I have recently become a fan of fairy tale story retellings. I enjoy the modern twist thrown into the fantastical elements behind what made the fairy tales so great in the first place. But Cloaked was an overload of clichés and riddled with depthless cast of characters. The plot reads flat even though it is filled with many supposed twists and the pacing is too slow, you will find yourself yawning more often than hurriedly devouring the pages to know more. The book is a shrug okay type of fairy tale retelling instead of comical romance.
One of the biggest problems was the way Johnny sounds both when he narrates and when he speaks. He sounded too much like a girl! He babbles on and on about shoes, about the princess, about his humdrum life. After the first three chapters, I did not want to hear anything more about how boring he thinks his life is and how much he believes the princess is the answer to adding spice to his world! Johnny was nice and caring, he had a good heart but that didn’t come through very well through the progression of the novel. I also couldn’t believe how completely clueless he was at the feelings Meg had for him. She pretty much threw her feelings in his face and yet, he couldn’t understand why she would make certain comments or get upset *rolls eyes* Princess Victoriana was utterly useless and absolutely annoying! I have loathed many female characters throughout my love of novels and Victoriana is no exception. She embodies the weak, frilly, dramatic female character. Meg, was probably the only redeemable character in the entire novel. She is funny and strong.
I actually don’t remember much of the book because I was just too bored to care to remember what took place. I can understand a fairy tale retelling having predictability and cliché parts of the plot because, really, it cannot escape it but the entire novel should not be centered around those elements. When a reader can predict the entire length of the novel by the first few chapters, what point is there in finishing it? . . .
I was disappointed by author Alex Flinn. She had done a wonderful job with Beastly but failed to deliver with Cloaked. She seemed to have rushed through the story without much thought to the characterization or depth of plot. I hope she can redeem herself in her future novels.