Book Review : Sleeping Beauty
Timeless Fairy Tales #8
By K. M. Shea
Briar Rose, a clever peasant girl, feels only pity for the mysterious Princess Rosalinda–the hidden princess who was cursed to prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep until true love’s kiss awakens her. But her pity turns into horror when Briar learns she is the secret princess, and Isaia, her childhood friend, is really a Magic Knight sworn to protect her.
Briar reluctantly embraces her new life as a princess, and is reunited with her mother, father, and her grandfather–the king. But calamity strikes when Carabosso, the evil mage who cursed her as a baby, returns and plunders the countryside. Unfortunately, the king refuses to dispatch the Magic Knights to protect the people, and instead orders the knights to stay in the capital to guard Briar. But Briar is not the demure princess her family desires, and she vows to save her people if her parents and grandfather will not.
Will the curse consume Briar, or–with help from Isaia–can she beat Carabosso at his own game? (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I love to see how different authors approach fairy tales. M. K. Shea writes a clean book, with a little romance and feisty women. All the fairy tales are set in the same world and subject to the same rules surrounding magic. The unifying factor is an appearance from Angelique, the enchantress in training. In some books she makes more than one appearance. It doesn’t appear to make much difference which order the books are read in, though they do reference previous books’ story lines.
I liked this one, but didn’t just adore it. It is the first one I happened to read and was my first glimpse into this universe. Sleeping Beauty explains the relationship the “magic users” have with the many kingdoms; in that they will not use their powers to influence any politics, but work to stop rogue black magic practitioners. I didn’t like how the enchanters, magicians and evil mages are categorized as “magic users”; I would have liked to see something more original than such a blasé description. The Magic Knights is another example of a very prosaic description rather than a scintillating title.
I liked how Briar Rose was full of plans. When it didn’t look like the boy she loved would notice her she decided to find a rich lord to give her an idle life of ease. When she discovered she was the poor missing princess, she dove in and decided to do the best she could. When she realized everyone was just waiting on pins and spindles for her to faint away from the curse of Carabosso, she takes matters into her own hands with a plan of attack to back her up. It’s not her fault that all the plans don’t go quite as expected.
I was disheartened by Sir Isaia at times. I wanted him to believe in himself a little more; even complete strangers could see his devotion to the princess. Briar Rose would have hated being kissed and pawed by every noble around, and Isaia knew it, but still wouldn’t step up and be the man she needed. Yikes! A whole year of life wasted away and the kingdom withering away. What a disaster. Thankfully, as in all good fairy tales, good conquers evil and love always wins.
3.25 out of 5 stars
Other retold fairy tales that I enjoy include Beauty by Robin McKinnley, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.