Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Cloaked by Alex Flinn
Release Date: February 8, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

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.

First of all, let me start out by saying how much I love Alex Flinn and have truly enjoyed her previous books.  Her novel, Beastly, was one of my favorites of 2010, and I am so excited by the movie release.  And while I did enjoy Cloaked, it fell just a little flat for me.  It might be my own fault, because, as I say, I love her books so much, that I might have placed some unrealistic expectations on this one, expecting it to be more like Beastly.

One thing I really like about Flinn's books, including this one, is that she seems to write from the male perspective.  This is, at least in my reading experience, unusual and very refreshing.  Johnny was a good character and I really liked the fact that he worked to help his mother and had dreams of his own.  I wasn't sure I bought the motivation that spurred him into accepting the challenge to go off in search of the frog prince just so he could marry a princess.  He just didn't strike me as that kind of guy.  Later, his motivations changed a bit, and those were more believeable for me.

I liked Meg as well, but I just didn't feel like she got enough "air time" to really make her a sympathetic character.  I felt like she was in the story so little that I didn't really get a chance to get to know her.  Thus, it seemed a bit convenient that these two began a romance.  If they had managed to live 17 years in each other's back pockets and never noticed they had feelings for each other, why would they suddenly discover it now?  Yes, there were some actions on both parts that spurred jealousy and helped awaken feelings, but those occurred after feelings were already developing.  The feelings just seemed to spring out of nowhere, and the conclusion was just a bit too convenient for me.

There were quite a few moments in the book that got a good chuckle out of me, but what I was missing from this story was the depth that I know Flinn is capable of.  Beastly, for example, engaged me on so many emotional levels, and even A Kiss In Time did as well to a lesser degree.  Both stories allowed me to really know the characters and become emotionally vested in them.  Cloaked, however, didn't go much below the surface for me, and I kept expecting there to be more.

Bottom line is that I enjoyed this story.  It was entertaining, and gave me a lighthearted and fun escape as I read, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.  I do, however, still look forward to Flinn's future books, as I am still an avid fan!

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