By Lori Fitzgerald
ABC’s Once Upon a Time is a television show where every fairy tale character you’ve ever known is trapped in our world in a town called Storybrooke, and Titan Books and ABC Studios have teamed up to create more magic by turning a show about stories into a book itself.
A Once Upon a Time Tale: Reawakened is a novelization of certain aspects of Season 1 of the highly popular show. Each chapter is based on an episode, although the dialogue and events are not taken verbatim from them. The tapestry of all the plotlines is too lengthy and complex to be developed in one novel, so the book focuses only on the point of view of Emma, the savior, and has Snow White/Mary Margaret as a secondary point of view.
The primary setting is Storybrooke, but we see some of the Fairy Tale Land plot that does not revolve around Snow White’s love story, such as Rumplestiltskin’s backstory, through Henry as he recounts it from his book to Emma. Reawakened poignantly explores the depth of Emma’s loneliness and her struggle to take a “leap of believing” and develop relationships with Henry, Mary Margaret, and Graham, and find a sense of belonging in the town:
“The wall,” Mary Margaret said. “This wall you have up around your heart.” She shook her head, shrugged. “You think it protects you. And it probably does. But there’s a cost to that.”
Emma was surprised at the plume of sadness that expanded in her chest as she listened to her friend’s words. A wall. A shield. She didn’t want to risk saying anything, for fear of sounding choked up. So instead she waited, privately admiring Mary Margaret’s emotional intuition, privately resenting it as well.
“It makes it hard to love,” Mary Margaret said, “when you’re defended so well.” (p.118)
By experiencing events through Emma’s eyes and delving into her private thoughts, the novelization reminds us that it is Emma who is the key to this story; as the savior she set the events in motion, symbolized by the hands of the clock in the tower. Reawakened also touches upon the Once Upon a Time themes of hope, true love, and the nature of stories.
Overall, Reawakened is an insightful companion to the Storybrooke plot of Season 1 by reminding us that Emma not only reawakens the fairy tale characters but also the dormant ability in herself to love, trust, and believe in magic.
Reawakened is published by Titan Books and is out now in the USA in Paperback and Kindle format. Order from Amazon.
UK fans can order now from Amazon UK