Two sisters quest to break a spell, even as one of them succumbs to the same curse that kept their mother asleep for 100 years.
Demure Princess Aurora and reckless Princess Luna are shocked to discover that their fragile mother is the Sleeping Beauty of fairy-tale fame. They are even more surprised to learn the reason for their sheltered upbringing is that 11-year-old Aurora has also been sentenced to sleep 100 years by the same vengeful fairy who cursed their mother. The girls hope they’ll have time to undo the spell, but Aurora pricks her finger and is soon fighting the pull of enchanted slumber. Thus the sisters embark on a choppily paced sea journey to find the long-lost fairy godmother they hope can lift the curse. Along the way, they make new friends, encounter a disembodied spirit, man-eating beasts and a sea monster, among other dangers. Aurora narrates the story—even through her inevitable sleep—and though the conclusion seems sudden and a bit too easy, Aurora’s and Luna’s growth is satisfying and real. The problems—including awkward references to stories from our world—distract, but fantasy readers should be willing to overlook the flaws for the satisfaction of reading a story about girls with agency who, though aided by others, find the solutions to their own problems.
A refreshing fairy tale that breaks the passive-heroine mold. (Fantasy. 9-13)