Star Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Fairytale Retelling
Publisher: Disney Press
Series: Twisted Tales
This review contains no spoilers.
This review is published as a part of the Bout Of Books Read-A-Thon.
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 maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following 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?
Note: Even though this is from a series, you don’t have to read the series in order as they are unconnected tales.
I can’t tell you how conflicted I was over this book. Not only does Aurora herself believe in the dream world, but it’s so well written that at times I started too, even though I knew (because of the summary) that it was a dream!! I wanted to believe in the dream, but I knew I couldn’t and that’s saying something.
One of the problems I had while reading this book, was that I was constantly comparing it to Maleficent and seeing parallels to that story. Ms. Braswell is clearly a good author, but it really just felt a bit forced. Disney is still sticking to their new stance of “it doesn’t have to be love at first sight” which is a nice change, but caused parts of the book to feel forced as Aurora kept complaining about it.
There’s some fight scenes and they are well written (a bit predictable), but a good balance of showing and telling the audience. There are plot twists and yes, there is a happy ending, but maybe not the one you’re expecting.
Aurora: She was very well written. I was afraid she would be too much like the one in the Sleeping Beauty movie its based on, or too much like the one in the recent Maleficent movie, but she had very little in common with either.
Prince Phillip: He was hilarious at times but there were also times that I wanted to hit him. He believes in love at first sight, and Aurora has to be the one to remind him thats not how it ought to work.
Maleficent: They made you really want to like her and really want to believe her. But of course, you knew from the beginning it wasn’t meant to be.
Aurora’s Parents: King Stephan and Queen Leah aren’t in the book much, but you have to feel pretty sorry for them. There’s also a lot of exploration of the ethics of sending your only child off into the woods with fairies and having a daughter when you really want a son.
The Fairies: There wasn’t much about them in here, but – similar to the Queen and King – there was a lot of exploration over whether they did a good job of raising Aurora and how their lying to her affects her.
I took this photo for my bookstagram account. Its the front cover of the hardcover book (the back is also beautiful, by the way (it features Maleficent)) with a glass peacock I’ve had for quite some time.
This is a very good book and I highly, highly reccomend it to anyone who likes fairytales, fantasy, and retellings.
Even if Sleeping Beauty isn’t your favorite Disney Princess, personally I can’t tell you when the last time I watched that movie was, I think you’ll be really pleased by this.