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Shannon Hale & Dean Hale – Calamity Jack

February 13, 2013

5. Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale (2010)
Rapunzel, Book 2

Read my review of book:
1. Rapunzel’s Revenge

Length: 144 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Western, Young Adult

Started/Finished: 01 February 2013

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I enjoyed Rapunzel’s Revenge and needed some easy graphic novels to read.

Jack’s got himself a
big problem… you might even
say a *giant* one.

(Gah, sorry. The terrible puns, I cannot resist them!)

Summary: We first met Jack as Rapunzel’s trusty – if occasionally somewhat bumbling – sidekick in Rapunzel’s Revenge. But in this sequel, Jack’s story takes center stage. He and Rapunzel are headed back to the city in which he was born, the city which he had to leave in a rush after the beanstalk caper went badly wrong. But it turns out that Blunderboar, the giant that was Jack’s target all those years ago, and survived, and now he’s got the entire city under his thumb, since he’s the only one who can protect the populace from the ravening hordes of ant people. Jack senses that there’s something fishy, but can he and Rapunzel get to the bottom of it in time to save the city – and Jack’s mother?

Review: While this story was fun, and there was nothing exactly wrong with it, it just didn’t grab me the way that I wanted it to. Jack’s got the stereotypical bumbling teen boy hero thing going on, but I didn’t find that he had the requisite level of charm to entirely pull it off, so he came across instead as mildly obnoxious. The story also didn’t really pull me in; while the flashback part of it is a retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, most of the book is spent on Jack’s current troubles, which don’t derive from fairy tales. The story’s got plenty of action sequences, and at least a few twists and turns, but I didn’t find it particularly surprising or thematically complex enough to really hold my interesting. I also found that I missed the Western setting of Rapunzel’s Revenge; the steampunky fantasy mish-mash of the city felt kind of jumbled. But, even with all that, the artwork in these books is lovely and fun, there are enough touches of humor to keep things light, and the story ticks along at a good enough pace that it’s still an enjoyable way to spend an hour. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It doesn’t recapture all of the spark of the first book, but for a mid-grade appropriate fantasy adventure graphic novel, it’s good fun.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

Other Reviews: Bart’s Bookshelf, Fantasy Book Critic, The Reading Zone, and more at the Book Blogs Search Engine.
Have you reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.

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

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 13, 2013 10:51 am

    Sorry it didn’t live up to your expectations.

    • February 17, 2013 7:50 pm

      Kathy – Ah, it’s okay; I’m less picky about graphic novels, just because they’re so short that it’s not a lot of time invested even if I don’t wind up loving it.

  2. February 24, 2013 12:28 pm

    I just finished reading Rapunzel’s Revenge (thank you for the review!) and really enjoyed it. Sorry to hear this one didn’t live up…but I’ll definitely be reading it anyway, just to see. :)


  1. Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale | Tales of the Marvelous
  2. Rapunzel’s Revenge & Calamity Jack | Iris on Books

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