Jaclyn and the Beanstalk
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: September 4th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…
Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.
But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.
Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.
Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.
On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.
She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.
Together, Jaclyn and Jack must battle to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.
Date Read: 9/5/18
Rating: 3 stars
Okay, first off, I have to say the summary is partly wrong… Jaclyn specifically does not take her father’s sword when she goes to save him from the giants/monsters, as she wants to leave her mother some protection. She takes two of his daggers instead. Such a silly, brave idiot.
Anyway. For a girl in the 16th century (I think it was), Jaclyn is pretty awesome. Actually, her whole family’s cool. Her father taught her how to fight with a sword. Her mom’s okay with it. But Jaclyn. She’s a 16 year old who never wants to marry and knows how to take a man down. She’s pretty badass. Then there’s the whole running off on her own to save her father thing. As I said, brave idiot.
This story pretty much married the story of Jack and the Beanstalk with the death of Christ, which is pretty interesting. While I understand that religion was a huuuuge part of life back then, I was kind of… I mean, not annoyed at it, but it did bother me that when Jaclyn did beat the bad guy (that’s not a spoiler, right? I mean, you knew it was going to happen. You know Jack and the Beanstalk.) she was all like “no, I did nothing, it was all God acting through me.” There’s humble, and then there’s humble. I’d like to give the girl some credit.
Now, on the negative side. A lot of the dialogue was really childish – especially when the big bad thing happens to Jaclyn. She sounded like a child throwing a tantrum, rather than an adult (at that time period, she was practically middle aged) experiencing trauma.
And then there was the romance. One second there’s nothing, then BAM full on feels. Well, lust anyway. I guess the love could have grown more during the times that were skipped over. Well, this was going to be a negative, but I guess lust at first sight is pretty common. And I have to say I appreciate it being in a YA book with such religious characters, with such strong attraction to each other, and that they do control themselves.
So overall, this was an interesting retelling. I’m not crazy about all the religion, but since it makes sense in the time I can’t hold it against the book. Jaclyn is cool, but I keep wanting to put a k in her name. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the beginning of the romance.
International Bestselling Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.