Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Today's read... The Labyrinth of Doom by Stuart Gibbs

This title just screams October and Halloweeny...The Labyrinth of DOOM!!!! That and the cover won me over...plus, I did read the first book in the series and enjoyed it (which you can look at here if you'd like). Oh, and it's probably not spooky or Halloweeny, and heads more into a humorous direction, but is that a problem? Not in my book because fun stories...especially humorous fun stories...are always a runner. Considering this is also a graphic novel, I'm thinking young readers might enjoy it (and me). 

But let's see how this one really is, shall we?

Once Upon a Tim, Book 2
by Stuart Gibbs
Illustrated by Stacy Curtis
Simon & Schuster
Middle Grade Fantasy / Graphic Novel
160 pages
ages 8 to 12


Knight-in-training Tim and his best friend, Belinda, embark on a quest to save Princess Grace in this second book in the hilarious, highly illustrated Once Upon a Tim middle grade series from New York Times bestselling author Stuart Gibbs.

Prince Ruprecht is VERY UPSET that knights-in-training, Tim and Belinda, have thwarted his plans and ruined his chances with Princess Grace. And so, to get even, he has kidnapped the princess and trapped her in the most complicated, dangerous, complex, dastardly, biggest (okay you get the point)…and scariest maze in all the world!

Now it’s up to Tim, Belinda, Ferkle, and Rover to fend off menacing beasts (like the minotaur), conquer treacherous obstacles (like chasms filled with cave sharks), find their way through the labyrinth (which is very tricky), and rescue the princess before time runs out. Oh, and also they need to remember how to get back out again…or they’ll be trapped inside the maze forever.



Shark infested waters, rock monsters, and blood-thirsty minotaurs are only a glimpse at the danger awaiting a not-so-talented knight (who still tries his best because being a simple peasant stinks).

Note: This is the second book in the series but works very well as a stand-alone.

After his first adventure as a knight (although he's only a knight-in-training), Tim is kind of settling down into the usual training, but it's rough, which is mostly not his fault. When he accidentally falls asleep during guard duty, the enemy sneaks in with evil plans of revenge. Soon, Princess Grace is in danger, again, and only Tim and his friends can save her...or supposedly, since the dangers are greater than even a trained knight could deal with.

This is an enjoyable, silly, danger-filled, and easy read. Told from Tim's point of view, every moment comes across in an honest and open manner with loads of sarcasm, self-doubt, hesitation, and yet, massive amounts of bravery. Tim speaks to the reader, not only connecting the emotions and adventures with personal flair, but 'knows' the reader's modern life and explains things along the way...in a humorous manner. In this way, Tim draws into his world, comes across as an average kid who's doing the best he can, and will have readers feeling as if they are right there with him (I'd say wanting to join him, but I'm pretty sure none want to face the dangers he does). 

Illustrations are sprinkled through-out the story, breaking up the text and adding to the fun of the tale. Reluctant readers won't find it overwhelming and will also enjoy the slightly larger font and spacing to help reading ease. Still, the author does build in heavier vocabulary. Tim is more than happy to explain the meaning of the words as he battles monsters or faces the villain, and while it might break the story flow, that's exactly the point, since it melds right in with the humor and snark.

This is a fun tale with tons of humor and even heart. It teaches a bit about knighthood and the time period, builds word knowledge, holds a nice message, and all of that with non-stop humor, tense and dangerous scenes, and oodles-and-gobs of imagination.

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