Review of Dead Upon a Time by Elizabeth Paulson

DeadUponaTimeDead Upon a Time
By: Elizabeth Paulson
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was sent to me in consideration for an honest review.

My Rating:

It’s a fairy-tale nightmare . . .

One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she’s given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles — and if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate’s world. She’s not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother’s house in the woods — and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can’t get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what’s happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention — even though the girl’s stepmother would rather he didn’t. It’s up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that’s far from happy.

My Thoughts:
Dead Upon a Time was a mash-up of several fairy-tales that was an easy, fast paced read. The book itself was fairly short and the writing was immersive but I never fully connected with the cast of characters. I enjoyed reading about them but I feel like the story might have been a tad too short to really grab me emotionally.

I did enjoy the adventure aspect and also seeing tid-bits of fairy tales all mixed up. I felt that the book was a very entertaining read and I especially liked Jack’s character. Of course, this is Jack and the bean-stalk Jack but in this book he wasn’t a hero in any way. He was actually an outcast. I loved reading this twist on the typical and felt that it was a great direction to take.

Our main character, Kate, was Little Red Riding Hood for the most part. She’s a bold and loyal character that was very easy to root for. She’s on a quest to save her grandmother from an evil force and the story rotates around her realizing what this evil was (though the reveal was sort of anti-climatic for me).

Some of the imagery was enticingly creepy (like the embroidered images of classic characters being tortured) but as with most other things in the book not enough was done with them. It all seemed a bit rushed to me.

Final Thoughts:
Dead Upon a Time took a creative and unique look at the classic fairy-tale. I loved the twist on the typical and felt that though the characters were easy to like I never had a deep connection to them. Regardless, this book was an entertaining and fast read.


  1. says

    This sounds pretty interesting on the premise but has the potential to be a let down. From your review it seems like it is too quick almost. I may wait for my library before I pick this one up. Thanks for another great review!

  2. says

    How old are the characters? Are they teens or more of a MG level? Not really a fan of the cover, especially if the book wasn’t really that creepy. Maybe it would market better with less focus on the “creepy” name/cover. More focus on the twist in fairy tales, ya know?

  3. says

    Ha! This one definitely does sound like fun though,, with all the fairy tale characters together, and sounds unique, but shame it’s so short and not as developed, especially when there’s so much you can do with it. 🙂

  4. says

    Gorgeous review Kristen 🙂 I’m glad you liked this one. But sorry it was disappointing :\ the images sounds awesome, hah 🙂 But yeah. I do not like the cover, sadly :\ so not a book for me. But you make it seem interesting 😀


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