My rating: 3.75 of 5 (the more I think about the story, the closer it gets to 4)
Fairytale retellings are one of my favorite types of books. I love to see what authors can do with a classic story to make it their own new fascinating tale. So when I found this book while looking through the list of e-advanced readers I could download, it stood out. This story was to be different from other fairy tales or even their revised versions. This one was said to be the “true” story of Sleeping Beauty, not of magic or witches, but of a curse brought on by events that could have actually taken place.
This was written as historical fiction, rather than fantasy. Usually I’m not a fan of historical fiction, but I’ve been in a reading slump and thought maybe I should give it a try since it was still a fairy tale. It took me a while to read since I started it before I had little miss ma’am and it took me a little while to adjust to a newborn. (I finally learned that feeding her/rocking her was the perfect time for reading – though not so great for trying to write. Though, I recently found that I may be able to write while wearing her in the Moby Wrap we finally got!)
I wanted to love this book, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It did get me through the reading rut I’d been in though and I read 2 more books in the 3 days following finishing this one up so I give it credit for that. I’m still honestly a little torn on how I feel about the whole thing. I fluctuate between a 3 and 4 star depending on which part of the book I think of. But as a whole, I would recommend this to anyone who likes fairy tale retellings or possibly even if they just like historical fiction. (Though, full disclosure, as I’m not a reader of it, I can’t vouch for whether it’s historically accurate to any time period.)
Anyway, here’s what I liked and what I did not.
*Very well written descriptions and most of the characters were well developed. Many of them I missed once the book was over, and those are the good kind. The villains were well developed too, but I can’t say I miss them.
*Elise’s love story.
*Even though it was written as a historical version of the story, it still felt like “once upon a time” was the setting. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but I liked it.
The Not So Good
*The pacing was by far my biggest issue. It felt like there were pieces of the story that were dragged out far too long, but then the ending felt rushed.
*The foreshadowing was kind of awful. It seemed like almost every page had a line something like this: “If only we knew then what this would truly mean.” It was all. the. time. And it got really redundant. We get it, something terrible is going to happen, and you didn’t see some of the signs (or sometimes you did, and pointed that out as well).
*So as not to say any spoilers, I just want to say that I really didn’t like some of the events that played out.
The “It’s not really bad, but this made it not what I expected”
*There was very little about Rose herself. This was not her story until almost the very end, she was barely
in it. She was a driving force behind some of the story, but it was really Elise’s story.
*I still haven’t decided how I feel about the ending.