Rapunzel’s mother, Gothel, raised her in a beautiful home surrounded by luscious gardens–the product of Gothel’s growth magic–and a high stone wall which separated them from the outside world. When Rapunzel grows old enough to wonder what lies beyond the wall, she disobeys her mother’s orders and climbs to the top. There she sees the barren wasteland outside her mother’s protected garden, land stripped of all fertility by the witch’s powers and peopled by laboring peasants, Gothel’s slaves. Rapunzel also learns that one of the peasants is her true mother, from whom Gothel stole her in infancy. When Rapunzel confronts the witch with her new knowledge, Gothel takes her to a far off forest and imprisons her in the hollow of a tall, tall tree. Gothel expects that her “daughter” will eventually come to her senses and choose to support the system of slavery that keeps them living in luxury. Instead, Rapunzel grows increasingly bitter in her isolation. Gothel’s growth magic that made the tree tall also makes Rapunzel’s hair grow quickly and soon she has enough to create a lasso to help her in her escape. Teaming up with a young thief named Jack, Rapunzel adventures across the desert countryside, trying to devise a plan to destroy Gothel’s empire and using her hair to bring vigilante justice to the lawless towns she passes through.
This adventurous Wild West retelling of Rapunzel is tons of fun. The graphic novel format is perfect for the story’s fantastic action sequences. Plus, it is very, very funny! I highly recommend this book to middle grade and teen readers.
The sequel Calamity Jack came out recently and I am very excited to read it!