Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date: September 12, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Rating: 3/5 stars
I loved the Demon Trappers series by Oliver and was super excited to read this fairy tale retelling by Oliver. I have had this book for quite some time and was so excited to finally have time to read it. Honestly I was a bit disappointed.
Briar Rose is sick of the small town in Georgia that she is growing up in. On her sixteenth birthday her ex is spreading false rumors about what they did in the car one night and the guy of her dreams tries to take advantage of her too. To put it lightly, Briar is having a bad sixteenth birthday. Things only get worse when Briar’s parents tell her that she is cursed and doomed to die on her sixteenth birthday. However, Briar doesn’t die…she goes to sleep and wakes up in the middle of the most twisted and dark fairy tale ever. Now she has to figure out how to break the curse before she is stuck there forever…or dies.
There are some really cool ideas in here, it’s kind of a fairy tale within a fairy tale. While I loved the idea behind the story I just felt like parts were really awkward. The dialogue between characters felt forced and I had a lot of trouble staying engaged with the story.
I just felt like this was such a neat idea and it could have been so much more with more descriptive writing, more natural sounding dialogue, and characters that weren’t so hard to engage with.
I also disliked the whole “pairing” off of all of the characters. While two of our leads (Briar and Joshua) do have a good foundation for a relationship, the other two couples do not. They both have a serious case of insta-love and in both cases it’s a very unlikely insta-love. The whole thing just felt so forced.
So, enough complaining…onto what I loved. I loved the idea of a evil queen who infects a kingdom with vicious metal beasts, I loved some of the fight scenes. I loved how metal was used as both a talisman to ward off evil and as something evil that infected people. I also enjoyed the story behind the dark queen and why she was infecting the realm with metal. I enjoyed the idea of a fairy tale curse that sends a girl into a sort of cursed fairy tale.
The story wraps up well but overall I was a bit disappointed in the quality of the writing.
Overall an okay fairy tale retelling that had some interesting elements but was overall somewhat disappointing. The dialogue was awkward and the characters hard to engage with. I liked the idea behind the fairy tale within a fairy tale and loved the evil queen, but wasn’t really all that engaged in the overall story. I wouldn’t recommend this as a good fairytale retelling of Sleeping Beauty…instead check out Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose which is a Holocaust retelling of Sleeping Beauty that is much more well done.