Once Upon A Time Tale: Rewakened by Odette Beane (book review).

‘Once Upon A Time: Reawakened’ is the brain child of the fiendish Jane Espenson, ‘Buffy’, web series ‘Husbands’ and ‘Lost’ alumna. It’s a little bit weird and kooky and the premise may annoy or intrigue you. This book is the novelisation of the first season written by Odette Beane which covers the mains story in quite short form.


To put it in a Squirrel Nutshell, all fairy tales from whatever era and whatever medium are there to be shamelessly pillaged, wrung out and hung out to dry. Variously, we have a Disney influences to a B movie influence, by way of ‘Lost’ references that the fans love to spot. This is truly a show that rewards nerdom as you can pick every episode apart to find it’s still beating heart. Oh yes, did I mention the hearts? All life, human and not, is here.

‘Once Upon A Time’, the TV series of which this book forms a précis of the first series commences with a dual story. In story-book land or one of the multiple existences possible in a universe of infinite possibility, one plot features the beautiful Snow or Snow White as we remember her, trying to get to her happy ending with Prince Charming. There is an evil Queen called Regina who always gets out of her bed the wrong side and spends a lot of time trying to kill Snow and others in her attempt to get her own happy ending. Meanwhile, in the ‘real’ world, a ten year-old boy called Henry has travelled to New York to get the attention of his birth mother, Emma Swan. He wants her to return with him to Storybrooke and break the curse of the evil Queen and release the fairy tale characters from their amnesia.

Essentially, this is the backbone of the story. Emma Swan does not believe Henry but she is attached to him and guilty for giving him for adoption. His adoptive mother just happens to be the wicked Queen herself, Regina, the mayor of Storybrooke and the only person who is aware of the curse. She’ll do everything she can to keep Emma away from Henry and keep her own little fiefdom safe. Needless to say, Emma pushes back and so begins the epic battle of good against evil. Except it’s never that simple and, although Emma is pretty good, Regina also has the seeds of redemption through her own love of Henry.

As we travel through the book, the dual narrative goes some way to explaining that life isn’t all about happy endings and sometimes there is a lot of hard work to get there.

I love the show and confess I found the book a little flat in comparison. It’s a good catch up of the main stories but I think watching the series itself is far more entertaining. Now nearly at the end of season two in the UK, the Third Season is confirmed with a spin-off called ‘Once Upon a Time In Wonderland’ which hopefully will also find its way to our own fair land.

Sue Davies

(pub: Titan Books. 337 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78116-906-3)
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