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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Mary Ting spins a new tale from a classic fairy tale in Jaclyn and the Beanstalk. “Everyone has a destiny, a story to tell.” Jaclyn is not your average sixteenth-century girl. She and her loving parents live alone, isolated from the townsfolk. Although beautiful, Jacyln is not very ladylike. Due to her father’s intense training, Jaclyn is skilled in the sword and other weapons. One day, Jaclyn discovers a stash of weapons hidden in the barn. She is somehow connected to these weapons; bizarre images appear after touching the tip of the lance. After this encounter, weird things begin to happen such as a mysterious lady with beans, secret meetings, talk of legends of treasure and night monsters. When Jaclyn's father and a small band of men are captured and taken to Black Mountain, Jaclyn realizes monsters are real. With faith and courage as her guides, she heads toward the mountain. Into the unknown, where evil creatures of the night reside, Jaclyn wills herself to be brave. She will save her father, no matter the cost.
Jaclyn and the Beanstalk written by Mary Ting is an enchanting and adventuresome tale. Keenly descriptive and eloquently written with touches of sixteenth-century language, the story takes the reader into the world of monsters controlled by a diabolical villain, and into a land of mystery and magic beans. The story taps into the senses of the young adult reader. Written in the first-person narrative, the story is told from the heroine’s point of view. Jaclyn is strong, brave, and unusually gifted. Her sidekick, Jack, challenges her, annoys her, yet causes her character to arc and grow. Although the story is founded on the original tale, Ting includes imaginative and creative twists, heightening the adventure. I enjoyed and appreciated the blending of the classic fairy tale with the new, especially in the conclusion. This story is more than just good versus evil; it is about love conquering hatred. “Hatred does not win over evil – only love and forgiveness.” Jaclyn and the Beanstalk illustrates the power of forgiveness in an unforgettable way.