Red’s Untold Tale – A Once Upon A Time Story

The title of the book pretty much says it all.  The Once Upon A Time universe unveils another chapter in the history of one of its favorite characters.  While there have been a couple of graphic novels with original stories and one book which summarized the first season of Once, this is the first truly original prose novel that offers details into the life of one of the characters.  Fans can’t seem to get enough of Red, also known as Ruby, the sexy, sultry waitress at Granny’s Diner.  “Red” is actually a nickname for Red Riding Hood from the Enchanted Forest.  The twist in her story – instead of being hunted by the wolf, Red actually IS the wolf.  However, Red herself doesn’t find this out until she is a young adult.  Red’s Untold Tale takes place before she is aware of her heritage.  The book reveals a number of details about her past which fill out her story quite nicely.

The back cover of the beautifully wrapped Red's Untold Tale by Wendy Toliver
The back cover of the beautifully wrapped Red’s Untold Tale by Wendy Toliver

Much of what we know about her from the television show remains the same, but the book dives more in-depth into her background.  How she got the red hood for which she is known, what the story is behind the hood and the magic it is enchanted with, and the price that had to be paid to enchant it in the first place.  Because as every Oncer knows, magic always comes at a price. We also find out more about Peter, the young love of her life.  Because fans of Once Upon A Time already know how his story ends, this book makes that demise that much more tragic.  The book even gives details about Granny’s past and about the terrible pain Granny has to live with.  And we learn about the beautiful golden cross pendant around Red’s neck and why it’s so special.

The cover of the new Once Upon A Time book, Red's Untold Tale
The cover of the new Once Upon A Time book, Red’s Untold Tale

Title: Red’s Untold Tale – Once Upon A Time
Author: Wendy Toliver
Cost: $16.99
Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Kingswell Teen
Genre: Fiction, television tie-in

But in case you are searching for all the answers to your questions about “Red,” you’ll need to know upfront that many of her mysteries still remain a mystery.  What is “Red”‘s real name?  What is Granny’s real name?  What happened to Red’s father?  All of those details are still unknown when you finish the book.  Perhaps more frustrating is that it ends on an ominous note, making you wonder what other stories might be in store for young Red.

The book is definitely written for the teenage crowd.  While the romantic parts are relatively innocent, they are just a tad too heated for what I would let my 11-year old read.  Too much about heaving chests, the heat of their bodies, and the rush of feelings swelling within them.  And although the romance between Red and Peter is an important part of the book, it is only one part of it.  The action, the mystery, and the drama are woven together well.  Wendy Toliver was able to weave together these various elements into an engaging story while revealing important background details about Red’s life.  While some of it seemed very predictable, it was well written and enjoyable and for Once Upon A Time fans, a treasure trove of new information.

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