Thursday, March 31, 2016

Once Upon a Dream ~ Liz Braswell (earc) review [@LizBraswell @DisneyHyperion[

Once Upon a Dream (A Twisted Tale #2)
Disney Press
April 05, 2016
448 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

It should be simple--a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess's, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy's last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent's agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?
If you are looking for the classic fairy tale - or even a retelling of that - where the prince gives Sleeping Beauty 'true love's kiss,' she wakes up and they live happily ever after . . .

Once Upon a Dream isn't that. It is, however, what you want if you're looking for a bit of a twist on the classic Sleeping Beauty tale. It's not a damsel-in-distress-of-a-princess-waiting-around-for-her-prince-to-save her tale, rather it's a story of a princess getting a bit proactive in her rescue.

Despite the differences, it is still very much a fairy tale. Aurora is still cursed, still pricks her finger on a spindle, falls into a sleep and needs to be saved to prevent something dire.

The way things beyond those basic elements were different was done very nicely. This way, Maleficent is the savior of the castle and Aurora - but still not quite the good guy. It takes some time, but Aurora finally starts to see things as they are, not as Maleficent has tried to convince her they are. It is all in her mind, a dream, and she has to navigate that world,  figuring out who she is and avoiding and or circumventing Maleficent's different attempts to stop them.

(No, there's no cheese in the book but any dream world seems to make me think of this)
I loved that this was a dream world, in Aurora's mind. It not only means that different rules apply and that those you're used to, no longer apply, but it means that it was in Aurora's mind. It lets readers - and Aurora - learn more about herself. She has to untangle her past, with its mixture of real but hidden and present but fabricated memories. It is an interesting voyage into a world of unexpected often dangerous things, self discovery for Aurora and possibly a real relationship between Aurora and Prince Philip.

I like that this was a fairy tale with the idea of love at first sight, happily ever after, fairies, princesses, and curses but more modern, as well, with Aurora not sure who she was but also taking a role in her (and everyone's) rescue, in being a strong, smart character. It was also great that, while still having those fairy tale elements, it dealt with Aurora's mental health and how her past (real and fictitious) played into their attempts to defeat Maleficent, wake Aurora and save the kingdom.
I definitely pictured Maleficent like the character from the Maleficent movie:

and Aurora a bit like that character:

but also a bit more grown-up and not quite such a dainty, spinning, smiling, carefree girl:

 Once Upon a Dream is a fun twist on the Sleeping Beauty story with a different, well developed world for Aurora, where that different, imagined upbringing plays fully into who she is and how she's rescued - or does some rescuing. It' is an enjoyable read.

received for review, via NetGalley, from publisher

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