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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Princess Aurora pricker her finger on a spindle many years ago and fell into a death like sleep. Now, Prince Rodric has kissed her awake and she is utterly confused. Everyone she ever knew is dead and her kingdom is in the middle of a rebellion. She does not know this Rodric nor does she understand why she is expected to marry him. As their wedding day draws nearer, this sleeping beauty must decide whether she wants to carry on with the life everyone has laid out for her or if she wants to break the mold and fight for what she believes.
I was very ambivalent about Aurora. At first, I really sympathized with her. This poor girl has basically been in a coma for decades and everyone she ever spoke to is now dead and gone. Her parents, her friends, her servants, even any pets are long gone and she struggles to maintain a happy face for the kind prince who awoke her. She was pretty annoying though. On one hand, she wants to help her kingdom because it’s obvious that things have changed since she fell asleep. But she doesn’t DO anything. Instead, she just sneaks around with a guy and doesn’t really give Rodric a chance.
Rodric is someone I kinda liked. He’s just trying to make the best out of his situation and do what he thinks is right. Sure, he’s a little slow and might not really be doing what’s best for his future kingdom, but he believes it is and therefore trudges on. The other two points in the love square are Tristan and Finnegan. Tristan was obviously up to more than just hitting on a pretty girl in a tavern from page one. He clearly has his own agenda, even if Aurora is too dumb to see that. I don’t know what Finnegan’s angle is. He’s the charming and flirting prince of another realm and I liked him a lot…except that I felt like he was hiding something as well. The only prince that seemed utterly sincere was Rodric and we all know she is not going to end up with him. If she did, this would be a new spin on a classic fairy tale. I think she’ll end up with Finnegan in the end, but we’ll see.
I am know officially finished with fantasy fairy tale sounding novels for a while. I’ll stick to contemporary. First it was Stray and now this. Both promised fairy tale epic-ness and both failed miserably and I’m just done for a while. Because this sounded so amazing! Sleepy Beauty wakes up and has a realistic response to her sleeping fit? Awesome! Prince Phillip Rodric might not be the one for her. Cool. I was totally ready for a action-packed fairy tale with the required happily after and that’s not what I got. This novel is very slow, with little action. The first half is basically Aurora thinking about the changes and sneaking out to meet Tristan and learning that the king is a world class dick. There is just a bit of action in the second half, but basically, it’s all Aurora whining. Don’t get me wrong, her plight is understandable, but damn women, do something about it. I realize your reach is limited and there isn’t really a perfect option for you, but do something, anything!
Then, we get all this story and stuff building and building and building….and then it’s over. It’s done. No more story. No wrap up, no real conclusion, and certainly no happily ever after. I’m sorry, I was under the impression that this was a stand-along Sleeping Beauty retelling. Riding off into the sunset with the Prince Charming of your choice is a must for fairy tales. And you failed to provide that for me. Even now, a month before the release, there is still no word on whether there will be a sequel, if it is will just end this way. If that is the case, then it was pointless. Nothing was resolved. Nothing was fixed. This felt like middle book syndrome, but it’s book one. That doesn’t bode well if it is a series.
In the end, I was wholly disappointed in this novel. It was rather boring at times and downright irritating at others. If you are looking for an epic Sleeping Beauty retelling, this is not it. It gets two stars instead of one simply because I was liked Finnegan and his flirty self. No reason beyond that. The writing is decent, but not great. The plot was slow and dull. The characters (besides Finnegan) were boring. Oh, and be aware that a character dies. Yeah, that didn’t make me happy. So…you know…I am unhappy with this book and will not be recommending it to anyone or reading the possible sequel. That’s a massive pile of nope for me.
****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****