Prineas is back with another high-concept fairy-tale retelling, this time tackling “Sleeping Beauty.”
Raised in isolation by old Shoe (from Ash & Bramble, 2015), thrice-cursed Rose has gone 16 years never passing the magical boundary that keeps her safe. When the barrier fails, it signals that Story is rising again and Rose’s destiny can no longer be fully avoided. Rose leaves home and finds her way to the grim, closed society of the City, where she meets handsome Griff and quippy Quirk, both secretly related to the larger machinations of Story. The companions are then drawn through the Forest into Story’s version of “Sleeping Beauty,” where only their combined strength can stop the relentless coming of the spindle and sleep curses. Prineas aims high, with conceptually fascinating scaffolding—Story as enemy, individuals forced to play out hackneyed tales and destroyed in the process—but it never amounts to more than just another retelling; curse three, beauty, when lifted, leaves Rose a lovely blonde; the narrative is circumvented by a kiss from a handsome hero; and in the end, it’s mostly the same old story, truncated in some parts and lengthened in others, with charming but underdeveloped white principals and a should-be-fascinating villain that makes no sense.
Pleasant but slight and, unfortunately, less than it might have been. (Fantasy. 11-15)