Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of what happens after happily ever after. Vividly imagined scenes of action, romance, and political intrigue are seamlessly woven together to reveal a richly created world . . . and Sleeping Beauty as she's never been seen before.
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.
Thomas s debut opens with the end of a familiar fairy-tale the sleeping beauty awakened by a kiss. The conclusion of one story marks the beginning of another as 18-year-old Aurora learns that she has been asleep for more than 100 years and is perceived as a potential savior for her unstable, violent homeland. She is manipulated and controlled by her future in-laws, the king and queen; treated as a puppet rather than as someone with thoughts of her own, she quickly comes to resent her situation. Though Iris, the cold and fearsome queen whose mask of authority hides her dissatisfaction with her own powerlessness, is an original creation, other characters, such as the cruel king and the morally dubious rebel Aurora unwittingly befriends, remain generic. The conflict between the rebels and the king, in which innocents (discounted by both sides) suffer most, is thinly constructed, and the kingdom of Alyssinia has little to distinguish it from other fantasy lands. But Thomas s novel leaves enough enticing unanswered questions to pave the way for a sequel. Ages 14 up.
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Rhiannon Thomas' new take on the tale of sleeping beauty goes past the typical YA stories of love at first sight and the distinct difference between good and evil. The intriguing character complexity is revealed further into the book and into the second installment.