Review: Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon

The wait for more Tangled episodes ends tomorrow. During the interim, Disney rewarded us for our patience with something unexpected. Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon by Leila Howland bridges the gap between the Tangled movie and the Tangled: Before Ever After special from the television series. The book was a pleasure to read because it was written in a way that anyone could enjoy, as long as they are at least at a middle school reading level. It is written in first person and switches between the perspectives of Rapunzel and Cassandra. I read the ebook version and found it very informative and enjoyable. I highly recommend it if you want to know more of the backstory behind the series.

Rapunzel and the Last Logoon reveals all of the juicy details that were missing from the Tangled series about how Cassandra became Rapunzel's lady-in-waiting. Since half of the book is written from Cassandra's perspective, it answers a lot of questions we might have, such as why she seems to hate Eugene, why she trusts Rapunzel so much, and how she feels about her royal duties. As the daughter of the captain of the guard, Cassandra is a fierce warrior who is always trying to prove herself to the rest of the kingdom. Though not implicitly stated in the book, it seems that Cassandra feels she needs to work twice as hard as a woman to prove that she is just as capable of being captain as her father or any other man. She is obsessed with what people think about her to the point where it gets out of hand later. That is why she is reluctant to open up to anyone for fear of being judged. She thinks that she needs to be perfect all the time because there are no other women in the royal guard.

Unfortunately, I didn't learn too much more about Rapunzel than I already knew because she is pretty much an open book. We already know her life story from Tangled. Since she trusts everyone, she readily speaks her mind no matter what the situation. Her thoughts and actions are usually pretty obvious. Just like in the series, she feels trapped in the castle and wants to go on adventures and see the world now that she's finally out of her tower. Rapunzel takes an instant liking to Cassandra, which influences her mother's decision in making Cassandra her lady-in-waiting. It takes quite a while for Rapunzel to break through Cassandra's heavily guarded exterior, but as usual, she sees the good in everyone, and they eventually become friends. Cassandra sees Rapunzel's overly trusting nature as a flaw, but Rapunzel never ends up trusting any of the wrong people. To be honest, it would have been more interesting if Rapunzel had trusted the wrong person and learned a lesson at the end, but that would have overshadowed Cassandra's need to learn how to trust.

I found that constantly switching between Rapunzel and Cassandra's perspective in each character was a bit distracting. Since the chapters were so short that I found myself forgetting whose perspective I was reading. I think the book would have worked better if it had been written in the third person or switched perspectives halfway through instead of every other chapter. Though the two are very different in personality, the writing style doesn't change in each switch so it can be a little jarring if you're trying to read quickly. It doesn't help that Rapunzel and Cassandra are usually in the same place doing the same thing in each chapter.

One thing I found interesting about this book is that Eugene played a very small role in the story. Tangled was one of the last romantic princess movies of this era, and Disney has been trying to focus more on sisterly love than romantic love as of late. If Eugene served any purpose, it was to stand as a wedge between Rapunzel and Cassandra's friendship. Even in the series shorts, Rapunzel makes it clear that she cares about Eugene and Cassandra equally and wishes they could get along instead of constantly competing for her trust. That was the main focus of this novel. Rapunzel nearly loses Cassandra's trust because of her relationship with Eugene, so she must put her romantic relationship on the backburner in order to earn Cassandra's friendship. The book shows us that the love we have for our friends is just as important as the love we have for our significant other.

Overall, Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon was a pleasure to read. It answered most of the questions people might have after watching the series and shed new light on Cassandra's personality. It also showed that Disney is placing less focus on romance in modern times, even for characters who are already partnered up. The book was long enough to be enjoyable for an older audience, but not too advanced for a younger audience. The only thing that was a little distracting was the switching perspectives. If you would like to read a book written in the third person about another lady-in-waiting with switching perspectives, check out my novella, Most Wanted Knight.


Rhino Reader said…
I have this book and can't wait to read it! Thanks for this review!

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