Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Happy Book Birthday, Tall Tales by James Riley

Today's read comes from a known author in the twisted fairy tale realm. I've read his works before and was excited to see what this latest...the second in his new series, which just came out this Summer... might hold. Yep, this is a series that speeds right along on the publishing end, which means there wasn't a long wait between books one and two. And that was a good thing after putting the first book down because it did have me excited to grab up this one too.

Once Upon Another Time, #2
by James Riley
Aladdin Books
Middle Grade Fantasy
320 pages
pages 8 to 12

The second book in a new trilogy of twisted fairy tales from New York Times bestselling author James Riley, set in the world of his popular Half Upon a Time series, that’s perfect for fans of Fablehaven and Chris Colfer’s A Tale of Magic series!

Lena might finally be accepted by the other giants after helping to defeat the Golden King and his faceless army in the Cursed City, but that doesn’t mean life has become any easier for her. The power-hungry Golden King wants revenge and has begun spreading shadow magic out over the kingdoms, taking over the minds of anyone it touches, and instilling fear and hatred as it goes.

The fairy queens, the most magical beings in the kingdoms, say their sacred book, Tales of All Things, claims that there is one person who can defeat the Golden King and his dark spells: Lena. But only if she first proves herself worthy by completing three challenges.

All Lena ever wanted was to prove she is really a giant. Now she has to be so much more. Can she and her genie friend, Jin, save the human world that doesn’t trust them, or will they fall prey to shadow magic, and doom everything?



After picking up the first book, I was excited to dive into the second installment and see what would happen with Lena and Jin next. And I wasn't disappointed.

Where the first book laid a very solid foundation, this book takes off into adventure pure. Lena has her hands full as she tries her best to do what she knows is right. She no longer hides herself from the giants and has basically already achieved, at least, some part of her initial goal. Now, she's shoved into the role of saving the human world from disaster thanks to a book. It's fun to see this character shift as she now heads in a direction, which she never wanted to go, and has to deal with problems bigger than herself. She easy to root for and still a character to enjoy. 

This is another fast-paced adventure with tons of fun twists and turns. There are more than a couple new characters introduced, and it's a treat to meet them (good and bad) as they hit a little familiarity and then go beyond. I did smile at the fairies. The tension stays high as Lena and Jin are forced to step into bigger shoes than they dreamed they could fill...and while they've come a long way, they're still learning to find their own notches in the world. Plus, their personalities make them both to love, each in their very own way.

If nothing else, this book has built the scene for what promises to be a very, exciting ending for the last book in the trilogy.

And here he is...

James Riley lives in Virginia. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the Half Upon a Time, Story Thieves, and Revenge of Magic series.

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