Fairy-tale Retelling | Fantasy | Young Adult
Published 1st August 2019
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the author via Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating of 3.75
King Harold has died; and Prince Thomas cannot take the throne as the new King of Orwall without a suitor, however, he refuses to choose a girl who is anything less than physically perfect. After all, what’s the point in being an incredibly good looking King if your wife doesn’t look good in a dress. After another round of Princesses have been turned away for not meeting Prince Thomas’ high expectations, Cardinal Lionel comes to save the day. He gives Thomas a map and a picture of Aurora, Sleeping Beauty, who is waiting to be awoken from her slumber by true loves kiss. What Thomas doesn’t know, is the Cardinal has been plotting and planning and as soon as Thomas crosses the kingdom’s boundary he will die by the Cardinal’s wish. Thankfully, Thomas runs into orphans Lucy and Jack, best friends who are leaving Orwall to head to another Kingdom. Lucy is everything the prince isn’t, and she agrees to assist him on his quest to find the most beautiful woman in the land. What they don’t anticipate, is that their incredible disdain for one another may turn into something completely different, and so much more than either could have ever hoped for.
This story is a fairy tale retelling of the story Sleeping Beauty. I was intrigued by the story because we all know that Aurora marries Phillip, so I was intrigued about Thomas and what his role would be in this story. Plus, I liked that it was a bit grittier than the Disney version I grew up with. Which it was, there is bloodshed and death, though not greatly described, it still adds a slightly darker feel to the story as a whole.
I really enjoyed the addition of Lucy, she is everything a woman is not supposed to be (in the time setting I’m estimating this story to be set in as it’s seen as weird should a woman wear pants), she’s got guts, a mouth that doesn’t shut and she gets around killing pheasants with a bow and arrow wearing pants. What’s not to enjoy? She really throws Prince Thomas for a six when he first encounters her, and for most of the story if I’m honest, and I really enjoyed that his assumption of a proper ‘lady’ was pretty much shoved where the sun don’t shine. Lucy was strong, but with flaws, so she became more than just a two dimensional character in my opinion. She was definitely my favourite. Jack annoyed the absolute tripe out of me, so I don’t really have much to say about him. I felt that the character of Prince Thomas was incredibly well written. He was written in such a way that you really wanted to punch him in the throat in the beginning for being so shallow, but this also allowed for him to evolve and grow as a character throughout the story which was great. Aurora was written as a complete ditz, and I honestly didn’t hate this. I kind of enjoyed the fact that the stereotypical “princess” trope was seen from the other side, well, I guess more from Lucy’s side as a commoner with a brain and how the perfect princess thing is not exactly something to strive for, at least not in this story anyway. It really promotes strong, resourceful and intelligent women which is awesome.
The story was the stereotypical story of a Prince on a quest to save the damsel in distress while trying to avoid death by magic from a stereotypical evil power hungry foe. This didn’t make it boring though, there are slight tweaks on things, Lucy being a big one, which turns the whole ‘fairy tale’ trope on its head. It was fast paced and incredibly enjoyable. Though at times I felt like another round of editing would have been good as I found there were mixed sentences that read as though Bird was going to write it one way then decided to write it another, but forgetting to delete all the unnecessary words. It’s not a huge enjoyment killer, but it did jolt me out of the narration a couple of times. Also, I found that the narration would turn almost childhood story time occasionally, but I do feel that this was intentional as it is a fairy tale retelling at the end of the day.
All in all, I quite enjoyed this story and will definitely read more from Becky Bird as I feel she has a great voice. The story was well written and thought out, and I enjoyed where it went even if it was a little cliche, sometimes, that’s just what the Doctor ordered.