Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pay the Piper: A Rock 'N' Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple (Book 1)

A rock 'n' roll band to die for? Callie is about to find out.... Not much happens in fourteen-year-old Callie McCallan's sleepy Massachusetts town. So when the famous rock 'n' roll band, Brass Rat, schedules a concert in the Valley, it's big news. As a reporter for her school paper, Callie scores the scoop of a lifetime--a backstage pass to interview the lead singer of Brass Rat! Her friends are so jealous. But Callie isn't sure what the fuss is all about...until she meets the band. Lead singer Peter Gringras and his band mates are so cool. Especially Peter. When he plays his flute, it's as if he has some kind of hypnotic power. But there is something strange about the band, something Callie can't quite put her finger on. Maybe she's just being weird, but it's as if they're from here--but not from here--at the same time.

It's when, on Halloween night, Callie's little brother Nicky disappears--along with all the other children of Northampton--that she begins to wonder if her suspicions are so weird after all. It's crazy, but Callie thinks she knows why the children have disappeared--and who took them. To prove it--and to rescue Nicky and the other children--Callie will be forced down a road that will lead to her to a mythical world filled with fantastical creatures. A world from which there may be no return....

Title and author of book: Pay the Piper: A Rock 'N' Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple (Book 1)

Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Young Adult Fiction. Fantasy. Fairy Tale Retelling.

What led you to pick up this book? Reviews. Several people read this book and eventually I decided I had to read it! Also, for the Once Upon a Time III challenge.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! See above...

What did you like most about the book? The fact that it was a fairy tale retelling. I have a soft spot for that genre. The connection to music also worked really well for me. It was like taking two of my favourite things and combining it in a book, so you know I had to give it a try! It was just a fun book. The characters were fun, the story was fun, and the idea behind it was fun. That's not to say that everything in the book is a good thing, though. It was a bit predictable, but that's sort of a given when you are retelling a well-known story.

What did you like least? I am not crazy about Yolen's writing style. This has been a problem for me before, actually. It is why I haven't read very much of her backlist yet. She still writes good books, but she is not an author that I have to read everything by and she is mostly an author that I would get from the library. I did like this book, though, so don't get me wrong!

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? I have read a few of her books over the years. Most recently I read Briar Rose. This is another fairy tale retelling and I loved this book! It's why I keep reading her. (If you click on the link it brings you to my review, which was actually three years ago! Time flies!)

What did you think of the main character? I liked Callie. She was a believable character to fit the circumstances of the book. She didn't annoy me, which was great! She was not a damsel in distress character. She might not have had a concrete plan of action, but she did have a goal and set out to accomplish it. She was like a regular teenage girl, too, though, with crushes on boys and the stress of fitting in.

What about the ending? The ending didn't really surprise me. It was an ending that suited the events of the novel. Thankfully, while there is another book in this series, this book didn't have a cliffhanger ending! I want to read the next book, but the library doesn't have it...

Nymeth says: Had you ever read any other retelling of the Pied Piper? If so, how does this compare?
When I read this, the only book I had read relating to the Pied Piper was the original story itself. That I can remember, anyway. I feel like I have read others, but it was so long ago that I am not easily thinking of them at the moment. Since I read this, though, I read The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. That could be considered a retelling of the same story. They are rather different, though, so even with the retelling linking them it is hard to compare the two.

A recommended read! One of my favourites from the Once Upon a Time Challenge, actually.


  1. This sounds like fun, I know the basics of the Pied Piper but hadn't ever read the actual fairy tale. I might have to give both a shot.
    Is there a particular age range you would say this series is best for?

  2. Yay...I already have this one on my shelf! (Thanks to guess who.) I'm so glad you enjoyed really does sound just plain fun.

  3. I'll have to try this one. I like reading fairy tale retellings, too.

  4. Hi Kailana, I'd like to borrow your way of reviewing, if that's OK with you. :D

    I like fairy tale retellings!

  5. I'm glad to enjoyed it, even if you're not a very big fan of her writing.

  6. Never heard of this, it sounds great though. I love books that have some sort of music theme.


  7. Joanne: Well, nothing too over the top happens, so I think middle grade or so, but it is more a young adult novel.

    Debi: I hope you enjoy it!

    Robin: It's fun. I hope you do give it a try!

    Alice: Go for it. I borrowed my reviewing style from Dewey...

    Ana: It was good. I want to read the next book, but the library didn't get it. I might see if they will buy it.

    Quacky: A music theme is good, yes. :)

  8. I really enjoyed this too and hope to read Troll Bridge soon too. Briar Rose is one of my favourite fairy tale re-tellings, so chilling and a grat version of the story.


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