Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck

I gave this book a rating of a "weak" four out of five. Tom Trueheart is the seventh son but is the only one whose name is not a variation of Jack. In this world, writers for the bureau create the beginnings to stories that are finished by the Trueheart brothers, except for young Tom, and their adventures become books. One of the writers decides he doesn't like the Truehearts receiving all of the glory for the stories, so he captures the six older brothers. Tom's first adventure becomes the rescue of his brothers. He encounters all of the characters from familiar, but unfinished, fairy tales such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel. He must free his six brothers, so they may go back and finish their stories.

I liked the concept of the book, but it didn't live up to its potential for me. I thought the idea of writers creating story starters was clever and allowing the characters to finish their stories left a number of possibilities open. However, the first half of the book was about the brothers starting their stories and described information the reader already knew from fairy tales. During the second half of the book, Tom climbs a beanstalk to face the giant, who is helping the evil story writer. The plot didn't really build up to a dramatic climax. I enjoyed the concept of the book and characters, but there weren't any surprises for the reader. I haven't checked, but there may be a sequel to this novel based on how the resolution is described.

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