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Long Live the Pumpkin Queen: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Jack and Sally are "truly meant to be" ... or are they?

Sally Skellington is the official, newly-minted Pumpkin Queen after a whirlwind courtship with her true love, Jack, who Sally adores with every inch of her fabric seams -- if only she could say the same for her new role as Queen of Halloween Town. Cast into the spotlight and tasked with all sorts of queenly duties, Sally can't help but wonder if all she's done is trade her captivity under Dr. FInkelstein for a different -- albeit gilded -- cage. But when Sally and Zero accidentally uncover a long-hidden doorway to an ancient realm called Dream Town in the forest Hinterlands, she'll unknowingly set into motion a chain of sinister events that put her future as Pumpkin Queen, and the future of Halloween Town itself, into jeopardy. Can Sally discover what it means to be true to herself and save the town she's learned to call home, or will her future turn into her worst... well, nightmare

352 pages, Hardcover

First published August 2, 2022

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About the author

Shea Ernshaw

7 books4,284 followers

Shea Ernshaw is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Indie Bestselling author of the YA books: THE WICKED DEEP, WINTERWOOD, A WILDERNESS OF STARS, and LONG LIVE THE PUMPKIN QUEEN. Her debut adult fiction novel, A HISTORY OF WILD PLACES, was an Indie Next Pick and a Book of the Month selection. She is also the winner of the Oregon Book Award.
She often writes late, late, late into the night, enjoys dark woods, scary stories and moonlight on lakes.

You can connect with her here:

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,111 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews9,004 followers
January 25, 2023
After Sally marries Jack...wait, you know who I am talking about, right? Only the most perfect couple to ever couple; Jack and Sally Skellington.

You know them. They were simply meant to be.

So, yeah, back to what I was saying...after Sally marries Jack, she is officially the Pumpkin Queen, a title she wasn't prepared for.

I mean, she was aware that Jack was the Pumpkin King, but that's not why Sally wanted to be with him. She wanted to be with him because she loves him with her whole being; for the way he makes her feel.

Sally isn't sure she is cut out to be a Queen though. Nothing about her feels Queenly, yet she's been thrust into this position of power she feels completely unqualified for.

With all of her doubts swirling around her, Sally tries to do the best she can just adjusting to her new life. As all this is going on, Sally and Zero end up discovering a doorway to an ancient realm called Dream Town.

What Sally inadvertently unleashes from there threatens all she has come to love.

Now thrust into a position where she must act in order to save her town, Sally must search deep within herself to find the strength and will to move forward. She can't be meek in the face of this danger.

This is her moment to prove to herself, and everyone else, that she has what it takes to be a Queen.

This was so cute. It's a short book and probably won't live in my memory forever, but for what it is, it absolutely filled my heart. I'm so glad I read it.

Ernshaw's dark, beautiful writing is perfect for this setting and these characters. If you are a fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, you must pick this up. Take a journey to Halloween Town and beyond as you learn more about one of the most lovable characters in animated herstory!

I cannot stress enough how perfect Ernshaw was as the author for Sally's story. Her writing is perfectly equipped to bring this setting, with all it's spooky quirks and features to the page.

I also definitely recommend the audiobook. The narration was fantastic!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Audio, for providing me with a copy to read and review. My world has been made a brighter place because of this story!
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 9 books863 followers
August 7, 2022
When a villainous creature of lore descends upon the holiday realm, it's not just Halloween at risk but all the holidays—and the human world too! This time the timid Sally, who's used to being a side character, must alone brave unspeakable danger to save the man she loves, and everyone else.

There's a lot to like about this novel-sequel to the classic film. Ernshaw provides readers with an effortless return to familiar haunted landscapes and iconic characters. She also introduces us to previously unseen holiday realms and the characters who inhabit them. My favorite parts are the opening chapters, where Ernshaw uses some of the best overdramatic romance writing to describe Sally's ragdoll longing for Jack, her new husband.

Admittedly the pacing is sluggish. Chapters are unreasonably long and emotional refrains become repetitive. The "twists" will surprise no one as the sequence of events unfurl in the most expected ways possible. A brisker pace and some sleight of hand would have kept me on edge, rather than merely waiting for the inevitable conclusion.

In the end, though, it is a fun adventure for fans. Sally's nervous rise to owning the title of Pumpkin Queen has unmissable Gothic romance roots, which I loved. There are even fleeting moments of genuine scares as she faces off against a formidable foe. Any disappointment I felt is likely due to my own expectations, which were admittedly too high. Have fun, don't take it seriously, and enjoy a new adventure that certainly does no harm to the magical perfection that is The Nightmare Before Christmas.
204 reviews3 followers
December 2, 2022
Did ANYONE here read the same book that I read?
First of all....this...was not YA. This was Middle Grade. From the actual print/font size (the largest I've ever seen in YA), to the premise (I was met with miserable flashbacks to reading Nightmare Before Christmas fanfiction as a tween, written by other tweens), to the romance (less than the movie had), to the actual writing itself (I've read Ernshaw before, I do like her writing, and this didn't sound like her /at all/.)

With that out of the way, this felt bland, uninspired, and lacking in any of the macabre that the film was so full of--no where in this novel did it feel like Halloween, that sense of novelty in other Holidays but the feeling of coming home in their own world. Sally's origin story was...something, but far less gruesome and interesting than it is in the original story. And sure, none of these characters had much personality in the movie, but with a novel, I expected...extrapolation?

EDIT: the more I think about this the more upset I am with it, one-star.
Profile Image for Melissa Flanagin.
482 reviews32 followers
January 25, 2023
WHAT IN THE FANFIC WAS THAT???? How could you do this to my favorite Tim Burton characters Ernshaw? Those were not the characters of Halloween Town that I loved. I was so excited about this book it was a story that had so much potential. For someone who wanted to be free and was a free spirit Sally did not show that at all in this book. The writing was so bad and literally read like a WattPad book and I love Ernshaw's other books so I have no clue what happened here. 80% of the book was just analogies and description and she used the same analogy over and over again I wanted to throw the book across the room. I know Sally is a rag doll you don't need to tell me she is one and stuffed with leaves and there are needles mixed in there that poke her when she panics. How this was getting 4 and 5 stars is dumbfounding to me. All I can say is thank god this was a quick read because I would have DNF'ed this at chapter 2 and I would have given this 0 stars if this app allowed it. Thank you for taking those precious reading mins from me that I will never have again. Lastly I will leave you with this horrible excuse for dialogue "I can't leave Jack to a fate worse than death." Sally honey Jack is already dead
Profile Image for Stay Fetters.
2,016 reviews117 followers
July 31, 2022
Shea Ernshaw has a very mesmerizing way with words and they make me fall in love with her books. She's one of those must-read authors. When I heard that she was writing a story about the Pumpkin Queen, I think I nearly fainted. My two favorites, Nightmare Before Christmas and Ernshaw come together for the ultimate book.

The story takes place right after the wedding of Jack and Sally. They have been swept away to the land of Valentines for their honeymoon. Once they come back, Sally didn't know that it took a lot to be the Queen of Halloweentown. She tries to escape the craziness and runs off into the woods. Spotting a door she has never seen before, she accidentally opens it. It takes her to Dream Town and she releases the Sandman. He puts all of Halloweentown to sleep. Sally is more determined than ever to save not only her town but the love of her life, Jack. Will she find the answers she is looking for and save the town? Or will Halloweentown be in dreamland forever?

This pains me to say this and it hurts when I do. These two favorites combined just didn't work for me. The concept for the story was interesting and I loved finding out more about Sally's past. There just wasn't that wow factor like with her other books. There was no glue that kept me stuck to these pages. Am I glad that I read it? Yes. Would it be something that I would read again? Probably not.

Long Live the Pumpkin Queen was an okay story. This was one of my most highly anticipated reads of this year and I am so bummed by the outcome. The story just wasn't what I was expecting and it was way too slow for me. Sally's story just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Tandy Ellen.
6 reviews
August 16, 2022
I originally posted a mid-book review, but have now finished and downgraded this from two to one star. As much as I loved the idea of a continuation for these characters, and it’s an easy read, I feel like the movie cast is so flat in this book. I know Shea watched the movie so much her VHS split, but it seems she hasn’t captured the characters very well at all. I had a hard time hearing their voices as I read. Sometimes the language was cringy. So many allusions about eyes and dead leaves! Pick other features! It feels like a very Second-movie-straight-to-video follow-up where all the voice actors have changed, the plot is goofy, and you leave feeling unfulfilled.

And Sally’s parents, really? Really!? Even though the movie clearly states Dr. Finkelstein made her with his own hands, we’ve got a long lost parents storyline. Also, the whole idea of Sally wanting to be alone is so uncharacteristic of her considering she sneaks out of Dr. Finkelstein’s lab to join society on several occasions in the film and stands fully in the crowd. I would have been more understanding if it was strictly to be with Jack in the book because they are newly married, but making tea while the whole town is asleep, just so she can get 5 minutes peace seems more like a tired-mom-author voice intrusion than the actual character.

And the worst part of this book came when Sally ended up in England sitting next to Queen Elizabeth II, who had no business being in this book. Which correlates with the grandest issue with this book, which is lack of world building. Even down to the names, which I understand they may be from the film or Tim Burton, but in books (they built the hell out the character Jack Sparrow in his book series on his youth), so we could have given a name and more detail to the “Corpse Kid,” etc. The author could have built more out of the existing foundation, yet we got a very surface-level story that doesn’t match the source material. I think there are Fan Fictions more worthy than this.

I was excited picking up this book, but I had a feeling it was gonna pan out this way. I wish they’d chosen an author with published material closer to Tim Burton’s tone and mood. Might have turned out better, but who knows.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ashley.
758 reviews406 followers
August 9, 2022
This cannot be real. FREAKING THE HELL OUT RIGHT NOW. LONG LIVE SALLY!!!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!

Profile Image for Jodie✨.
70 reviews3,245 followers
November 2, 2022
In this book we follow Sally from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas during her honeymoon with Jack and then immediately after when disaster strikes and she must not only save all of Halloween Town and it's inhabitants, but everyone in ALL towns. She must also face inner turmoils and discover who she is and her strength whilst navigating new places, new people and new struggles.

As always, Shea Ernshaw's writing is simply beautiful filled with descriptive and immersive depictions of Tim Burton's world. I adored this book and highly recommend it to any Tim Burton or Nightmare Before Christmas Fans or those just looking for a wonderfully whimsical tale.
Profile Image for Shaza.
61 reviews
December 12, 2022
3.5 stars rly enjoyed this book tho it’s on the slower side but the atmosphere was great made me want to sleep n felt cozy while reading this. It follows the events after the movie and it’s rly nice to see sally trying to believe in herself and having her story.

A couple of my fav lines from this book..

“Sometimes home is a town, a house with four walls.
Other times, it's two hollow eyes in a skull, a skeleton
without a heartbeat.”

“the bottomless caverns of his eyes like graves I
would happily tumble into, down, down, down, for.
ever without end.”

“I sense there's something in the
wind, that feels like tragedy's at
Profile Image for Alexis Sharp.
Author 1 book2 followers
August 11, 2022

In Nightmare Before Christmas, the audience was treated to an iconic scene where Jack Skellington pops off his head mid-song and continues to sing: "And since I am dead I can take off my head to recite Shakespearean quotations. No animal nor man can scream like I can with the fury of my recitations!"

Now, on page 26 of Long Live the Pumpkin Queen, Jack and Sally meet Ruby, the Queen of Valentine's Town:

"Say," she begins, her eyelashes flitting, "you two wouldn't happen to know someone named William Shakespeare?"

Jack lifts the bones above his hollow eyes. "Sorry, no."

What follows this is a strange beat where Sally knows that Jack does have a library of Shakespeare's works, but they decide not to say anything, because the man is dead. A much more natural response would have been for Jack to heartily agree, and the two to have a discussion of good ol' Billy Shakes. Sally could even have felt left out, if she had not yet read them, feeling not as cultured as the pumpkin king and the valentine queen.

While I did enjoy the exploration of the other holiday doors, the book feels a bit short. I would've liked to see more of Halloween Town before the honeymoon; why not the whole wedding? The pacing for the book did not work for me. It reads very much like a middle-grade novel instead of YA. The large font plumps up the page count to be longer than it truly is.

Jack and the Mayor felt true to the film, but to me, Sally felt way off. In the film, Sally is crafty and clever. She tricks the doctor to sneak out, even tosses her body willfully out a window and then happily sews herself back together, just to visit Jack. When she realizes his Christmas will go wrong, she actively attempts to sabotage it with the fog in the fountain. Then, she risks her life to rescue Sandy Claws on her own! In the novel, Sally is weepy, and helpless. She spends a good chunk of the book running around trying to get other people to solve the issue of the Sandman. I had also hoped there to be an exploration of Sally's unique power from the film, to see visions of the future; alas, that never comes up.

All in all, Nightmare Before Christmas fans will find enjoyment from this book in terms of holiday world-building, but I don't think many will consider it truly canon.

As a bit of an aside, I would not recommend the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition. I expected Sally's recipes to be a part of the book, but instead what they did was print a little pamphlet and glue it loosely on the back inside cover of the book; it doesn't feel very "exclusive" to me, but that is more a gripe with B&N and not the actual story.
Profile Image for HorrorBabe911.
77 reviews14 followers
October 10, 2022
Loved it! Amazing plot, I hope Tim burton adapts it into a movie! A must read for all NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS fans.

Sally, now newly known as the Pumpkin Queen must take her position as Halloween town’s Queen and anxiety comes over her. Stumbling across a long lost tree door to an ancient realm—curiosity takes over her. Alongside her is zero which embarks on this crazy journey to help her undo a mistake she has unleashed onto all those whom she loves.
Profile Image for Sheena.
560 reviews250 followers
August 3, 2022
Happy publication week!!!

A book based off the Nightmare Before Christmas is something I didn’t even know I wanted. I watch the movie every year and I love it so much! In fact, I would’ve pre-ordered this if I didn’t get the ARC. That being said, my expectations were high and it’s not that it didn’t meet them but there were just a few things that disappointed me.

Our main character is Sally and the story takes place after her and Jack get married and she becomes the Pumpkin Queen. Without giving spoilers, I thought this was a creative take on Sally’s background too. I don’t want to give a summary just because I think it’s more fun to go into it blind but I loved that the others doors were explored too.

The writing itself is so overly flowery and I don’t think it fits with the setting. I hate flowery writing and descriptions that go on for pages so that didn’t work for me. The other thing with Sally is that she is so self depricating. It does lead to her eventual growth, THANK GOD, but it was still too much. The other thing I didn’t like was that Sally’s seams and stitches are mentioned every other sentence. We get it, we know she’s a rag doll!!! Good news is that I do love Zero just as much as I love him from the movies.

I’m still glad to have read this and feel lucky that I was granted early access. Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book!
Profile Image for Rachel.
123 reviews30 followers
February 18, 2022
If I was not in the middle of a Teen Reading Challenge and fully immersed in YA books, I would blame myself for not liking this book. But this book feels like a New Adult premise with a Middle Grade reading level so it was labeled YA. The pacing was so fast but with virtually nothing happening for the first half, it was almost a DNF.

It's a fun cute idea. This would be a great book for reluctant readers.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
743 reviews1,265 followers
November 4, 2022

Una historia adorable que sigue la vida de casados de Jack y Sally, pero enfocándose mayormente en Sally como la reina de Halloween Town. Me gustó, pero no me encantó. Me brindó una cuota de nostalgia que necesitaba en esta época, y eso lo agradezco. Pero no me pareció fabulosa como la primera.

Si quieren una reseña más completa, acá les dejo el link de mi video-reseña: https://youtu.be/5nO1QcK0DNk
Profile Image for ☠Kayla☠.
204 reviews72 followers
August 6, 2022
As a massive fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas and having an obsession with Jack Skellington I was a very excited but also a bit nervous about reading this book. I was so scared I wouldn't love it like I did the movie but honestly this book was amazing and really brought back all the love and excitement I had the first time I ever watched the movie.
This book takes place after Jack and Sally fall in love and got married, Sally isn't really sure she's cut out to be the Pumpkin Queen and in a haste runs into the grove of trees to escape the pressure. She wasn't expecting for Zero and her to find a long forgotten tree with a cresent moon in the grove and her curiosity gets the best of her, she decides to open the door and gets thrown into a nightmare and a new relm called Dream Town. Now Sally has to save everyone from the creature she accidentally let out and also find herself and discover secrets she could have never imagined.
I LOVED this book! I was so drawn in and think that Shea Ernshaw really did an amazing job of capturing all the creatures and worlds that I remember from the movie and capturing the new worlds that we didn't get to see. This is the perfect sequel to the classic movie and I highly recommend this book to anyone who, like me, is in love with the movie and all of its characters, especially Jack, Sally, and Zero. It takes a lot for a book to be in the category of no others can compare and this one definitely is.
Profile Image for Jenna Bookish.
181 reviews94 followers
September 26, 2022
Goodness, I wanted to like this, but it was actually pretty dreadful. The writing was soooo repetitive and dull (if I have to hear about the leaves inside of Sally's chest one more time instead of literally any other means of expressing her emotional state, I might scream) and the weird retcon of Sally's back story was so unnecessary. I'm also genuinely not sure who the target audience is for this? It seems to be marketed towards the YA crowd, so I wasn't expecting anything sophisticated, just a cute Halloweeny quick read with a bit of nostalgia given the NBC theme, but the writing style felt more middle grade than YA. Super chaotic and fanficcy in the worst way.
Profile Image for Alexis (Lexi.84.02).
299 reviews17 followers
December 15, 2022
First of I love Shea Ernshaw and have read every book I could get my hand on by her, and when I saw that NetGalley allowed me to listen to her upcoming book about Sally Skellington, I was not only in shock but extremely grateful
Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies to play not only during Halloween but definitely Christmas.
This book focused more on Sally and how she has become the Pumpkin Queen, however with great power follows great responsibility, and that is what Sally endures.
I recommend this book to not only Young adults but also middle school kids too
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,728 reviews739 followers
November 3, 2022
I’m ready to start a petition for Disney and Tim Burton to make this into a movie because I NEED to see this on the big screen. I was hesitant going in because you just don’t mess with The Nightmare Before Christmas, the movie is precious not only to me but to millions of people. Thankfully this book knocked it out of the park and stayed so true to how I imagine Jack and Sally to be. And the whole story idea was SO unique, it’s not something I ever would have thought of expanding NBC into but it was just perfect. I really couldn’t have loved this more and I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Suhailah.
147 reviews23 followers
November 4, 2022
“Curiosity will be the devil of you, or the death, whichever comes first.”

- Dr. Finkelstein

Dear future self, the sequel you never even dreamed would exist…IS HERE 2022!

A must read for all Nightmare Before Christmas fans! Delightful and spooky!

**One of my most anticipated Halloween reads of the year, and it was well worth the wait!!**

Sally and Jack Skellington return in this sequel, just married and ready to start their lives as Halloween Town’s Pumpkin King & Queen, when Sally’s anxiety gets the best of her leading her into making a questionable decision. This releases total anguish into Halloween Town, risking her future and everyone else’s. Not only is this an adventure, this is a glimpse into Sally’s origin story! Dark secrets of her past are exposed, and all the other lands through the holiday trees I died to discover from seeing in the movie were brought to life through the use of delicious descriptions. It was exciting! I think the author did an amazing job in capturing the true essence of the Nightmare Before Christmas characters and the soul of Halloween Town. This was beyond my expectations! I definitely feel I got more than I bargained for.

I guess my only little complaint I have is that the book is a bit drawn out towards the middle. It gets kind of lonely and slow, but it wrapped up nicely and definitely started strong.
Profile Image for Amber J.
850 reviews52 followers
September 17, 2022
I really enjoyed this book. A few things to say though. One, you will have wanted to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas movie before reading this book. The author definitely wrote it assuming you are familiar with the world already.

Second, after finishing it, I told my 10-year-old daughter that she might enjoy this book. So that is my opinion on the age level intended here. The writing is pretty simplistic and easy to follow, making it well written for older children, and it's not too scary in my opinion.

It was a fun adventure where we got to see more of the other worlds, as well as see Sally get her own story. I also liked seeing more of the romance that we got a glimpse of in the movie.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,575 reviews1,463 followers
August 2, 2022
This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I am a huge fan of the Nightmare Before Christmas and have seen it so many times that I was immediately interested in revisiting the characters of that story.  It is hard to recapture the brilliance and wonder that you felt the first time you see a show like that and Long Live the Pumpkin Queen had a lot to live up to.

Sally and Jack are now married and starting their new life together.  It is such a huge change for Sally.  She loves Jack, but how is she supposed to be a Queen.  She hates all the extra attention and how they want to dress her in different clothes and shoes, this isn't at all what she wanted.  When she finds a new door in the woods and is curious; she opens it and almost gets sucked in.  Sally gets away but leaves the door open and an ancient creature escapes into her home world.  Now everyone is asleep and Sally needs to find a way not only to save her holiday but all the other holidays too.

The thing Long Live the Pumpkin Queen is missing is the live action (yes I know it is a book) and the songs.  One of the best things about the Nightmare Before Christmas was all of the fantastic songs to go along with the live Claymation.  Because this is a book, it is all in your head and so we are missing  the magic that Claymation brings to the story along with so many great fun songs.  While the story is entertaining, with Sally finding her inner strength and going to all the known holidays as well as Dream Town, which is not only where the Sandman comes from but also where we learn more of Sally's true origin story, some of the magic was missing for me.  I had a good time in the story, I liked seeing all the holiday towns and learning that there are more doors out there.  It was really interesting going to Dream Town and seeing how life is lived there along with opening up other potential places for stories in other books.  I liked Sally's growth as a character as she finds her inner strength and her voice.

Really this is best imagined as a live action Claymation story and my mind just couldn't be inventive enough to get me there on my own, which is why most of this book fell a little flat.  Solid story, interesting characters, solid ending but missing something to make it live up to the original.
Cissy Jones looks pretty new to narration.  She did really great and I have no complaints about her voice or performance.  She was wonderful with the voices and the story but like I said before some of the magic is missing and I don't think it is Cissy Jones' fault at all.  I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x spead

Listen to a clip:  HERE

Profile Image for Jan Agaton.
585 reviews330 followers
September 12, 2022
jack & sally are everyyyything 😍 shea ernshaw did a fantastic job bringing these movie characters to the novel format. she got the voices down, got the setting down, and created a whole new plotline. i loved this reading experience so so much, and it gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the movie!
Profile Image for Kristen Peppercorn .
532 reviews97 followers
September 2, 2022
Literally forgot who wrote this and then when I saw I was in actual shock because normally her writing is so otherworldly and this read like a 13 year olds bad fanfic. Disappointed but not surprised.
Profile Image for Angie.
2,326 reviews228 followers
August 26, 2022
I had a very strong feeling that I wasn't going to like this book. The Nightmare Before Christmas is my second favorite movie of ALL TIME, so there was also no way I couldn't read this one. But Long Live the Pumpkin Queen just can't compare to the original. Obviously, being such a huge TNBC fan, I've wondered what happened to Jack and Sally after the events of the movie. Obviously, I want more of Halloween Town and its kooky residents. This book is just not it.

When I started reading Long Live the Pumpkin Queen, I was still in that excited phase, wanting to know where this story was going. I do think the author did a fairly good job of introducing the characters and mostly writing the way they would talk. I could easily read the dialogue in each character's voice, but that says more about how many times I've seen the movie rather than her actual writing. There were times when I had to stop, because what was written didn't quite feel like how the character would say it. Just the wording being a little off. But for the most part, it read true. And there isn't much dialogue from the characters we already know because of plot purposes.

Long Live the Pumpkin Queen starts at Jack and Sally's wedding, nearly a year after the events of the movie. Sally is finally getting her happily ever after...kind of. With Halloween only two weeks away, she and her new husband only get one night away for their honeymoon, before Jack needs to resume holiday planning, since the mayor just cannot do anything himself. My issue with this setup is that it seems like nothing was prepared for the upcoming holiday, when we know that Halloween prep starts the day after Halloween! It was just a convenient excuse to have Jack be busy and Sally feeling simultaneously isolated and overwhelmed.

And that is one of my main issues with this sequel. Sally has one emotion which essentially becomes her only personality trait: guilt. She doesn't feel like a queen and that she doesn't deserve all of this fawning and attention. Understandably, she also just doesn't enjoy it, because it's not her. That's fine. But for the entire book she tells us eleventy billion times how guilty she feels for wishing to be left alone, then getting her wish. And it's all her fault. And she's so terrible. And she did this to everyone. And over and over and over and over...

I actually do think the plot of Long Live the Pumpkin Queen had potential. I loved seeing the other holiday realms as Sally ventures to find help and a solution to this problem. I definitely loved this idea of a long-forgotten door to an ancient realm. That was all fun and cool, and of course it's up to Sally to save the whole world. Again though, because if you recall, she also technically saved Christmas.

Where Long Live the Pumpkin Queen completely lost me and ventured into "oh hell no" territory was with a new origin story for Sally. I love Sally. I wanted to know more about her past, but I did not want this re-imagined weirdness. Does it make sense? Kind of, but only because the author was trying to convince us that it makes sense. Does it ring true? Not to me. Not at all. I didn't like it one bit. It also introduces a confusing time line that doesn't add anything to either story.

I can't help but wonder who the audience for this book is. The obviously answer would be fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I don't think that's entirely true. Diehard fans like me are likely to be annoyed at the changes. It's a classic that simply shouldn't be touched, so any attempt at a follow up or prequel is going to fail. Maybe more casual fans will get more out of it, or perhaps those who just want a fun fantasy story? Although, I don't think the latter would have enough context to get fully immersed in this world without knowledge of the source material.

Read more at Pinkadot Pages.
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