Title: Golden (Once Upon A Time)
Author: Cameron Dokey
Release Date: February 28, 2006
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Cover Designer: Mahlon F. Craft
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales
Summary: Before Rapunzel's birth, her mother made a deal with the sorceress Melisande: If she could not love newborn Rapunzel just as she appeared, she would surrender the child to Melisande. When Rapunzel was born completely bald, her horrified mother sent her away with the sorceress to an uncertain future. After sixteen years of raising Rapunzel as her own child, Melisande reveals that she has another daughter, Rue, who was cursed by a wizard and needs Rapunzel's help. Rue and Rapunzel have precisely "two nights and the day that falls between" to break the enchantment. But bitterness and envy come between the girls, and if they fail to work together, Rue will remain cursed forever.
Golden was an interesting retelling of the classic tale "Rapunzel." Much better than Beauty Sleep, the other Cameron Dokey book in the Once Upon A Time series that I have read.
If you're wondering how she got her name (in this book, anyways), Rapunzel's mother had cravings for a certain parsley called "rapunzel" when she was pregnant. So she asked her husband to ask the neighbor Melisande for some from her garden. But the husband was afraid to ask because Melisande was a sorceress, so he began stealing the parsley regularly. One day, Melisande catches him, and as a punishment makes a deal with Rapunzel's mother: if she can't love her baby just how she is, the sorceress will take her. When Rapunzel is born bald as an egg, her beautiful but shallow mother cannot love her, and gives the baby to Melisande, who names her Rapunzel after the parsley. By the way, the sorceress is good and loves Rapunzel as if she were her own child.
And yes, you read correctly. Rapunzel is BALD. And she remains bald throughout the whole book. Then again, you could say that both Rapunzel and Rue were Rapunzel, if you really think about it. Because Rue had beautiful long hair and was locked in a tower, and later on she takes Rapunzel's name. It's mind-boggling to think about, and I'm impressed that Dokey could come up with something so original and amazing.
I liked how Dokey came up with an explanation for love at first sight. I hate it when it happens in most books, but in fairy tales I find it acceptable. After all, it's a fairy tale! I also liked how the prince was clumsy and not very prince-like. I nearly laughed out loud when he tripped on the gopher hole and hit his head on a tree.
The only flaw of this book is the first-person point of view was a little stiff; this book would have been better if told from third-person point of view. That aside, I think I can honestly say that this is my second favorite book in the Once Upon A Time series, with my favorite being The Night Dance by Suzanne Weyn.