A Once Upon A Time Tale
Author: Odette Beane
Published By: Hyperion
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I knew the hit ABC television show Once Upon A Time was going to be something even before it first aired on October 23, 2011. The promos showed me something new and inventive in a television series and I was definitely wowed by the first episode - enough so that I have continued to watch the series since. So, when I spotted a book with Snow White and Emma Swan on the cover at the local Barnes and Noble, I stopped browsing and picked it up.
Reawakened, by Odette Beane, is the novelization of the entire first season of Once Upon A Time. It takes us from the moment when Emma Swan turns twenty-eight, first meets Henry, the son who she put up for adoption ten years ago, and is persuaded to take him back home to Storybrooke, Maine.
She doesn't really believe in all the stories he tells her on their journey from Boston to Storybrooke. For one thing, fairy tales aren't her thing. They all have impossibly happy endings and Emma's life has been anything but a happy ending to this point. Found on the side of a road as a baby and passed from foster home to foster home, Emma had quite a rough life, culminating in a stay in prison and leading to her new life as a bounty hunter for hire. The last thing she is going to believe is that she is some sort of savior for the people of Storybrooke, much less the long lost daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White coming home to finally break the Evil Queen's curse. That's just ridiculous, right?
Well, that's what Emma believes at first, even after meeting Henry's adopted mother, Mayor Regina Mills, who Henry insists is really the Evil Queen. Sure, Regina is abrasive, but she has been taking care of Henry since he was a baby and has every right to be suspicious of Emma's sudden appearance in Storybrooke with her son. That being said, Emma can't seem to shake the feeling that she should stick around and keep an eye on Henry.
The longer she stays, the more Henry reveals about his special book of fairy tales, given to him by his teacher Mary Margaret...who just happens to really be Snow White. The book contains the true stories of all the inhabitants in Storybrooke who originally lived in the Enchanted Forest until the Evil Queen cast a spell that transported them to a new world, made them forget who they really are and doomed them to an existence of no happy endings and no obvious passage in time.
The more she sees of Storybrooke, the more confused Emma becomes. She is determined to be in Henry's life, but at the same time worries if he is delusional. Yet, there is something unexplainable about Storybrooke...like the fact that something bad happens to everyone who tries to leave; like the sudden appearance of wolves out of nowhere; like Regina's obsession with juicy, red apples.
Odette Beane takes you into the world of Once Upon A Time, bringing each episode to life, complete with the flashbacks into the lives lived in the Enchanted Forest. Yet she doesn't overdo things. The temptation would be to simply regurgitate everything viewers have seen in each and every episode of the first season of the series, dialogue and all. Instead, Beane focuses on the major events in present and past, using clever sentences like Henry explained this or that, so we don't have to revisit every single flashback in the series, however small. Despite doing this - not repeating each episode word for word - Beane managed to bring my imagination alive, allowing me to relive those moments in the series that I haven't seen since the first season in my mind.
It took me no time at all to barrel through Reawakened, as I sat captivated with a smile on my face for hours reading. I truly enjoyed this book and hope that there are plans to put the rest of the seasons out in novelization form. If so, I hope they chose Odette Beane to write them. Her work on season one was so masterful, I couldn't imagine anyone else taking on the task.