Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Book review - Once Upon a Dream

Title: Once Upon a Dream
Author: Liz Braswell
Genre: fantasy/retelling
Similar books: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas
                     Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay
better than I expected

Summary(provided by publisher): What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
It should be simple--a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden's, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy's last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape--created from her very own dreams. Aurora isn't alone--a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent's agents follow her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up? 

My opinion: This is the second book in Braswell's Twisted Tales series and I didn't have very high expectations for it. I was quite disappointed by the first book, A Whole New World. Imagine my surprise when I found this to be a fascinating, compelling read. A few things set this book apart. 1) Braswell doesn't set us directly in the world of Disney's Sleeping Beauty, the world we expect going in. Instead, most of the story with which we are familiar has passed. 2) Instead of simply re-imagining familiar events Braswell explores the emotions and complexities of familiar characters. She asserts that years of isolation and being lied to would likely have left Aurora not a pleasant, pliant, ready princess but a depressed and betrayed, broken young woman, especially having wedding plans and a complete change of identity thrust upon her mere hours after meeting the "boy of her dreams". This book explores a literal internal journey where the protagonist must fight not only a literal external evil but her own insecurities, anger, betrayal and the like. This is somewhat high philosophy and as such will not be everyone's cup of tea but is likely a good choice for anyone who has ever questioned the logic of a fairy tale.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

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