There is more to the tale of “Sleeping Beauty” than has been told through the centuries.
William’s mother, Lirian, has been mysteriously gone for months. His father, Heldor, went for supplies days ago but did not return to their mountain home, leaving him alone with his little brother, Pinch. When Morga, the wicked, 13th witch of the familiar story, announces his father’s death and makes demands and threats, William is faced with a terrifying dilemma. In order to keep Pinch safe and find their mother, he must accomplish three tasks that Morga sets forth in a convoluted riddle, with the goal of getting a missing item that will give her ultimate power. But he is brave and determined, and he finds help along the way in the form of a guardian appointed by Morga’s 12 good sisters, a surprisingly astute mule, and Tuli, a size-shifting creature with a pet miniature dragon named Squarmy. William and readers both learn that Lirian is really Princess Bree, who married Heldor to live a simple life in hiding from Morga. William is a prince whose heroism will restore the right order of things. The characters are fully developed and are completely believable within the rules set by the genre. There is humor, heart-stopping action, magic of many sorts, and tender emotions of sacrifice, love, and loss. Crum draws readers into this evidently white fairy-tale world with detailed, descriptive language and inventive syntax.
An exciting, neatly crafted adventure. (Fantasy. 8-12)