Review: Half Upon a Time

One of the best middle-grade fantasy adventures on the shelf, James Riley’s hilariously exciting adventure hooks you on page one and doesn’t let go until you’ve finished the last page.

Half Upon a Time follows the story of Jack, the son of the Jack who climbed a beanstalk and stole magic items from the giant. Jack is working hard to repair his father’s reputation and knows he needs to find a princess to rescue if he’s ever to show his face around town again. When a princess named May literally lands in his arms from a weird hole in the sky, it seems like the perfect opportunity. Who cares if she’s from the land of Punk, as her “Punk Princess” t-shirt clearly says?

Riley’s voice—through Jack, of course—is dry, witty, and hilariously funny on every page, and Jack is the kind of eager-but-unlucky hero that you care about on every page, even when he gets wildly jealous of May after a suave prince steps into the story and takes over Jack’s quest.