Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
Reason for Reading: I love fairytales, and when I read that this was going to be the story after Aurora wakes up, I had to read it.
While I love fairytales, Sleeping Beauty is one of the popular ones that I know least about. I can’t even recall seeing the original Disney movie on it, and I haven’t seen Maleficent either. However, I have wondered about her story. If an eighteen year old girl is put under and curse, sleeping for a hundred years, and wakes up to a random guy kissing her, how does she feel? How does she adapt to this new world, people, rules, and technology? How does she react when she realizes everyone she knows is gone?
That’s what I was looking for.
With Rhiannon Thomas’s story, I got a glimpse of that. Aurora is clearly distraught that she has no family left. Things have not changed much with the castle or technology, so she’s not as overwhelmed with that. It’s more of her style of dress that is talked about the most, from the nobles at least. She’s briefly grossed out when she realizes hundreds of men have kissed her over the years without her knowledge, which I would be too.
What I wanted from Aurora was for her to try to find a place for herself. When she realized people were manipulating her, when no one was allowing her to think for herself or go anywhere, I wanted her to say something. Anything! 90% of the time she remained silent, thinking to herself that she wished she had said something.
If you’ve lost everything, what have you go to lose? Speak your mind! If you don’t want to be a prisoner like you were before the curse, stuck inside that tower, fight back. Maybe they’ll force you into it, but at least you tried. She had the general public behind her. She could have told the King and Queen that having a presence among the people would help their status with their people.
Now, the Tristan vs. Rodric story. Thank you Ms. Thomas for not making it into a love triangle! I was afraid that Rodric would fall madly in love just because he woke Aurora up, but he sees her more as a friend. With Tristan, I don’t think he had any feelings for Aurora. I honestly think he was using her, but if that’s not the case, I didn’t see any evidence for that.
Oh, and Finnegan. He’s an interesting character. I think I actually liked him the most in this story.
Overall, it was an okay read. The pace was a bit slow, and it took me a while to read because of it. It takes a really long time for any of the characters to develop. I’m not sure who I’m supposed to trust in this story at all, but maybe that’s the point. Aurora was annoying in that she didn’t stand up for herself, and then she was angry that she was weak and didn’t do anything…but then she didn’t do anything! She is being controlled by everyone, and even at the end. She thinks she’s acting on her own, but I still feel like someone else is pointing her in a direction (I won’t say who because I’m trying not to give any spoilers).
I’ve been debating on how many stars I should give this one, but I’m going to go with this.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars