Friday, April 8, 2011

Review of Cloaked by Alex Flinn

cloaked Not a lot of books can carry off a story based around a teenaged shoe repairman, but that part of the story isn’t the problem with Cloaked.  I love the details about Johnny’s life running his family’s shoe repair business in a swanky hotel in Miami.  Johnny’s family is poor, especially since his dad disappeared, and he’s trying to keep things going so his mom can pay the rent, and, he knows a lot about shoes.  It’s not often you hear a teenaged boy talk about Manolo Blahniks.  And on the sly he designs his own shoes and makes up models with the scraps of leather left over from repairs.  The problem with the story comes more with the fairy tale aspect.  Of course there’s a quest, with the promise of the visiting princess’s hand in marriage if he can find the frog her brother was turned into by the evil witch.  The princess’s accent is tiresome.  The talking swans are cool (they used to be human, so with special earbuds Johnny can understand what they’re saying).  I don’t mind the travelling cloak, or how clueless Johnny is about who he really likes.  But honestly, the plot is so hard to follow there were times when I went back and reread to see if I missed something that would explain what was going on.  I enjoyed the first half of the book, so maybe if you’re a big fan of Alex Flinn’s other books, you can hang in there through the whole thing.  Review by Stacy Church