Zel - Donna Jo Napoli

Zel is the retelling of the classic children's story Rapunzel.  Zel lives a pretty secluded life with her mother, only venturing out to the market once or twice a year.  As she gets older she longs for more interaction with people outside her mother.  One fateful day, she and mother go shopping and she runs into a hansom guy.  The witch wants needs her to make the right choice and give up on the idea of marrying and having children to follow in her footsteps and become a witch as well.  However, because Zel can't seem to get the hansom man out of her head, the witch locks her up in a tower.  I'm sure you know pretty much how the rest of the story goes. 

This version holds true to the original but adding more depth and originality to the story.  I really liked that it is told from the three different perspectives of Zel, The Prince, and the witch (her mother).  In this version, I found myself sympathizing not only with Zel but also with the witch / mother.  It was clear that the witch loved Zel and even sacrificed her soul to have her.  I do not approve of her locking her up in the tower, but people do desperate things out of fear.  Her fear was that she'd lose the daughter that she never was supposed to have.  She is definitely my favorite character, as twisted as that may sound.  Another positive about this story was that Zel wasn't just a happy go lucky girl in the tower.  There were some dark moments in this book.  It was presented pretty realistically.  I mean who wouldn't go crazy after being locked up in a tower for as long as she was?  Then there is "the prince."  At first I didn't really like him that much but I guess as the book progressed he kind of grew on me.  I guess I liked his dedication to finding Zel and all of that but I guess his part in the book wasn't as intriguing to me as much as the witch and Zel. 

This is the first time, in a long, long time that I have read the tale of Rapunzel and I have to say that I was definitely surprised by how much I really enjoyed it.  I loved how all of the things that happened in the original story, happened in this one as well but it was still a little different.  I feel like the witch's part made the book, even though Zel has some crazy moments toward the end. This is truly a romantic story about love at first sight.  Honestly, I thought that I was going to be bored with this fairytale since I hadn't read one in ages but if you're looking for a blast from the past, the more grown-up version -- Read this.


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