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Half Upon a Time Books In Order

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Publication Order of Half Upon a Time Books

Half Upon a Time (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twice Upon a Time (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Once Upon the End (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Half Upon a Time is a fantasy trilogy books by American author James Riley. The series centers around a boy named Jack, the fictional son of the protagonist from Jack and the Beanstalk books. The heroine in the trilogy is a girl named May from our real world. The first book in the series incorporates plot points from other Brothers Grim fairy tales, including Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood and is centered on the idea that the nonfictional and the fictional worlds are somehow connected.

The other two books in the Half Upon a Time Trilogy expand on Jack and May’s adventures as they seek to defeat the Wicked Queen.
James Riley’s trilogy was shortlisted for the 2014-2015 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, included in MSTA Reading Circle List, was a Mark Twain Award Nominee, and listed as NCTE/CLA Notable Children’s Book.

Half Upon a Time
The first book in Half Upon a Time introduces the readers to the main character Jack a young boy residing in the village known as Giant’s Hand. While everyone Jack knows is trying to find quests that will prove their worth, Jack is fully contented to stay at home and help his family on the farm, hoping to inherit his father’s legacy.

One day, a young girl named May enters into Jack’s world in a flash in the sky. She comes from an alternate world, one without magic, and she has no slightest clue how she was transported into Jack’s world. She is in search of her grandmother, who’s been abducted. But reluctantly, Jack finds himself sucked into helping May in her quest to find her granny.

Can they ever find May’s grandmother? And what will happen along their quest?
That’s basically the main story in the first book in the series, and it’s not long before fairy tale characters start showing up, and Jack and May realize that there’s a conspiracy theory at play that they may not be able to overcome, especially if they don’t collaborate with the villain. Over the course of the story, we meet pirates, giants, mermaids and Phillip, who joins the two main characters to help save the kingdom.

The action in the first book is fast-paced and never lets up, making it hard to put down the book, especially with so much action and plot twists.
You will fall in love with the three characters, May, Jack and Prince Phillip, as they make a perfect team.

If you enjoy reading fairy tales books, then James Riley’s series Half Upon a Time is a highly recommended read for you. You also don’t have to be a fairy tale lover to enjoy this book as there’s a great adventure and plenty of action as well. The series would be a perfect match for middle-grade students and would make a perfect read-aloud series a well.

There are several themes that James Riley touches on in this book. There’s the theme of heroism. But who’s the true hero in this case? Since Jack is the son of a criminal, he reluctantly agrees to join May in her quest and fails the princess rescue test. Well, you’ll have to read the entire book to figure out that yourself.

The storyline is great, and there are lots of twists and turns that make the book a real page-turner. The book is a true definition of a fractured fairy tale, and it’s like one of the TV shows with lots of betrayals and mysteries that make you want to read more.

From the beginning, the story automatically gets you hooked. The plot is pretty much the icing on the cake, as it’ll make you laugh, gasp, cry and want to toss the book across the room. Lastly, the world-building is great, right from the dragon-shaped castle, the forests, and the magical items.

Twice Upon a Time
Twice Upon a Time is the second installment in the Half Upon a Time series by James Riley. The cover of the book alone will have you hooked in the right from the start. There’s sarcastic kids thrust in leading roles they do not buy into in a world of magic that does not make their eyes roll with wonder.
The story behind the cover has all the elements but runs deep than you would expect. Jack isn’t meant to be a hero, and May is yet to figure out what she is doing in the magical world after the greatest and most shocking revelation in the previous book in the series.

When she discovers the true-life story, she belongs to, and when Jack is forced to face his role, they both have fateful decisions to make and challenging issues to work on. Heroic deeds, true love and happily ever after moments may not be in store for our duo regardless of how they feel about each other.
As May, Jack and Prince Phillip continue their adventure, they only have a couple of days to save the rest of the fairy kingdom from total destruction. The antagonist, The Wicked Queen, has set loose a dragon attack combined with a sleeplessness curse. To get help to stop all these menaces, our heroes and heroines must travel to a fairy queen who hasn’t been affected by the curse in the Land of Never, where a ruthless king rules over a kingdom of a pudgy adult with the belief that they stopped aging as kids.

Under the king’s control is also a ship of silly mermaids and harmless mermaids, all who would become dangerous if released from the Pan’s thrall. And what’s under the sea isn’t another Disney musical but a merman kingdom designed to unleash a war of extinction against the human race once provoked. But to accomplish their mission, the trio has no other option but to risk exactly that.

The second book in the series strikes dark tones emotionally with loads of danger and action. It forces the trio to grapple with tough moral choices and make huge sacrifices for the betterment of fairy lives and humanity.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Half Upon a Time

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