ONCE UPON ANOTHER TIME, by James Riley, Aladdin, April 5, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 8-12)
A cast of fairy tale characters collide in Once Upon Another Time, the first book in a new trilogy from author James Riley.
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? —Synopsis provided by Aladdin
A tiny giant, a talking cat that can leap buildings in a single bound, a snarky genie and an egg that keeps having to be put back together again. These are just some of the characters in James Riley’s delightful Once Upon Another Time.
The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of Lena and Jin. This allows readers to really get a sense of these two players while the supporting cast fleshes things out.
Once Upon Another Time is an exciting adventure and enticing mystery. Fans of Riley’s Half Upon a Time series will enjoy returning to his fairy tale world, and new readers will immediately fall in love with a land that mashes up so many familiar stories.
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