Just off the Path - a fairytale adventure
Just off the Path by Weston Sullivan Fire Quill Publishing Firelight: Fantasy and Science fiction General Fiction (Adult) , Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date 05 Sep 2017
Weston Sullivan has an interesting approach to the world of fairy tales. Unlike the well known series Fable, fairy tale characters reside in a fantasy world. All of their stories overlap and merge. With Briar Rose and the rightful rulers of Grimm asleep for 100 years, other kingdoms have emerged. Rapunzel, Cinderella and Snow White (who we don't meet) are queens ruling various parts of Grimm. The one unifying factor is fear of the Uninvited Thirteenth, the wicked witch who held Rapunzel captive, blinded her prince, and put Briar Rose under a curse. Hansel and Gretel were also seen as her victims, though their story is not quite as history recorded. Throughout Grimm, people are being murdered, their hands stolen for some nefarious purpose. Brought to Rapunzel’s castle, ostensibly for their own protection, Hansel and Gretel discover that Gothel, the uninvited thirteenth, has escaped her prison and intends to get revenge. Hansel and Gretel fear her wrath and the implications for Grimm - with Spring comes the end of Briar Rose’s enchanted sleep. Unwittingly, Hansel and his sister are drawn into an adventure where they are forced to face the nature of their own story and that of Gothel in order to save Grimm.
Just Off the Path blends the fairy tales well, making the stories work together. Although it's clear that Gothel has a softer side, she is still too one dimensional. She never has a chance to be more than a wicked witch, despite Sullivan implying there is more to her. I enjoyed the novel, but it is one I'm unlikely to pick up again. It’s good, but not exceptional. Still, it is a debut novel and Weston Sullivan shows promise as a writer.
3.5 rounded up 4 / 5
I received a copy of Just Off the Path from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Hansel never asked to be a hero. He never wanted to fall in love with Rapunzel, Queen of the East. He didn’t ask to be raised by Gothel the Wretch, and he certainly never wanted to be credited for her arrest. But more than any of that, Hansel never wanted to lie: but he did. He lied about everything. He thought that he was done with it all when he and his sister Gretel retreated into the woods to reclaim their land, but he should have known better.