Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon is the third of the delightful Hamster Princess series. Harriet's hit a slow point in her questing and is stuck at home with her parents. Thankfully, her friend Wilbur desperately needs her help — a hydra egg has been stolen and needs to be retrieved before it hatches.
Vernon's book marks the third Rapunzel inspired story I've enjoyed. As a child Rapunzel's story had been distilled down to a princess or lady with a long braid, thick as a rope, who waits until a prince finds her and asks her to "let down her hair." He climbs up. They fall in love and he somehow manages to get the two of them out of the tower. The end.
In those stories the how and why of Rapunzel's incarceration is left out. I honestly didn't know about the witch or her motivation until first reading Rapunzel's Revenge by Shanon Hale. Then Tangled looked at how abusers keep their victims. Rapunzel was also given a reason — beyond straight up revenge — for being kept in the tower away from everyone.
Veron's version takes a decidedly different approach, again focusing on the kidnapper — a shrew — and how abusers are often repeat offenders. Here the second victim is the hydra — or will be as soon as it hatches. Rapunzel herself isn't really the point of the rescue, though she is rescued because it's the right thing to do.
Mostly though the book is about Harriet pushing herself to the limits in the name of being a hero. It's also a chance to see her friendship with Wilbur grow and for him to show some growth as a character and a hero.
The next in the series is Giant Trouble with a scheduled release of May 9th, 2017.