Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.
Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.
Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?
Psssht. I’m not entirely sure where the Game of Thrones comparison came from, except for maybe the fact that it’s the tagline currently being slapped on anything remotely resembling high fantasy.
To be honest, there’s a lot happening in the novel and it almost ended up one hot mess. I’m not too clued up on traditional fairy tales, my parents having skipped that tradition as a child, but there were elements of quite a few different tales in here, some of whom served absolutely no purpose. (The Red Riding Hood character, for instance.)
I also found the writing/descriptions a little heavy handed at times, almost clumsily overdone.
However, I really liked the fact that Aurora holds her own when men think she’s weak – she can fight for herself and even passes as a dude, albeit a scrawny one, when she needs to. But she’s also not ashamed of her femininity, and enjoys wearing pretty dresses and the like. I think that’s a really important distinction to make – too often we have characters that in a misguided attempt at being “strong”, eschew all trappings of femininity. (There’s obviously nothing wrong with not liking typical ‘girly’ stuff, but I’ve often seen this trope used to show that the character is a Strong Woman ™.)
Things do progress RATHER SWIFTLY re: the romance, but I like how both characters had serious obstacles to overcome, even if they both were prone to being overly-emotional at times. Communication, yo. It would do wonders for reducing drama.
Overall, not the best fairy story/fantasy I’ve ever read, but I found myself fairly entertained.
Free copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.