What fate awaits a girl who hears monsters at night…
Sixteen-year-old Jaclyn looks up to her father. An honest man who once fought for the king, he now teaches Jaclyn how to use her wits—and her sword.
But he has a secret. And his secret may have a connection to the one thing Jaclyn is hiding from him.
Upon hearing “monsters” are terrorizing the small villages around Black Mountain, Jaclyn’s father and his friends head out to hunt them … but they don’t return.
Armed only with her sword and three magic beans—a gift from a mysterious old woman—Jaclyn sets out for Black Mountain to save her father.
On her climb, one bean drops and grows into a beanstalk, catching her when she falls.
She isn’t the only one that takes the ride. Jack, her childhood friend and secret crush, is following her.
Jaclyn and Jack will have to work together to save not only their fathers, but the townspeople the beasts plan to lay waste to before it’s too late.
Praise for JACLYN AND THE BEANSTALK
A mash-up of “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Lord of the Rings” … RECOMMENDED ―School Library Journal
“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.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review
“Mary Ting managed to surprise me at every turn, even though I must have read this story a million times as a kid. The most impressive surprise was the creation of a girl protagonist who is so much better than the original Jack. Then she brings in the boy, Jack, as the love interest. Sheer genius and a great idea. The writing is great. The plot is good, and the various themes woven throughout the story make it a very compelling tale.” ―Readers’ Favorite Review
Mary Ting writes with an adventurous heart, a clever pen, introducing young readers to a classic that meets fantasy, shedding light on the family devotion and a love story that buds to completion by the end. This short novel comes as a highly recommended read for parents and young adults that prefer fantasy fiction with a Christian-based theme and a creative perspective. Mary Ting is one of those writers to notice and watch. ―Kingdom’s Review
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. Everything that follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation for this review.
Jaclyn and the Beanstalk is a YA retelling of the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. I requested to be a part of this blog tour and to review the book because of the gender role switch as well as being a retelling. There aren’t many Jack and the Beanstalk retellings out there, guys. It was new and refreshing and I was intrigued.
That said, the first thing I noticed when I started reading was the heavy influence of Christianity. Now, I myself am not Christian. You would think that I would begin to feel pressured or upset about what was going on in the story.
On the contrary, the religious tone to the book acted as a vehicle for the main plot. If anything, the Christian fiction moniker is a subgenre, just as the romance took a backseat for the rest of the story.
The religious aspect made sense given the time period of the book. And, even though every character could be assumed as Christian, it is the “good man/woman” who is celebrated and not the fervor of ones personal beliefs. It was the “good person” and the quote “Every woman has her own bravery” that was pushed over and over again to show the audience what this book was about:
To be good to your fellow man is the key to happiness and no matter what others think, no matter if you are female or not, there is a certain bravery that only you possess.
I could go on to the romance, but I don’t think it needs more than these few sentences. Jack and Jaclyn work well together. They don’t take over or fight for dominance and are a true partnership. There is a part in the end where Jack teases Jaclyn about her hurting the hand that will provide for her and she states simply that she can provide for herself. Too often a YA or romance book has a male lead encourage the aspect of being the provider and can seem to almost push that thought.
I found it refreshing and wonderful that these two were able to cultivate a partnership.
In all, the book has a strong message and one I try to display in my day to day life. I loved that I had an emotional response to the characters and situations. I felt encouraged that, despite not being Christian, I am still valuable as a good person. And, that here is another example of the type of relationship a person should strive to have.
I definitely recommend this to people who love retellings.
Final Rating: 4/5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Ting is an international bestselling, award-winning author. She writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers around the world. Her books span a wide range of genres, and her storytelling talents have earned a devoted legion of fans, as well as garnered critical praise.
Becoming an author happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she had in high school. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, Mary retired from teaching after twenty years. She also had the privilege of touring with the Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book: No Bullies Allowed.
Mary resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two little dogs, Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Being a huge Twilight fan, Mary was inspired to make book-themed jewelry and occasionally gives it away as prizes to her fans.