An enticing contemporary retelling of the classic story of Sleeping Beauty. While the the handsome prince, the evil fairy, the beautiful girl and of course the spindle all appear, Sarah Pinborough’s charming and provocative spin on the story will captivate fans of the fairy tale all over again.
This review’s going to be a short one today because this book isn’t that long and I don’t know how much I have to say about it. This was just an okay read for me, which I’ll admit is a little disappointing because I’ve been eyeing this book with interest for some time now.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters in this one. It’s short and it has far too many POV’s at that length for one to really be able to empathize with any of the characters. And it’s rare that I’ll say this but I truly think the length was an issue for me with this one. If it were shorter and more tightly focused, or longer with a little more depth, I think it would have worked much better for me. Maybe part of the point was keeping the characters at a distance–most of them don’t even get names, after all–but I think in order for me to enjoy something I need to connect to the characters in some way–I need to care what happens to them–and that just didn’t happen here. It’s a shame because I loved the concept–I wish had been able to become more invested in things. I think at one point I may have been rooting for the Beast, at least they were interesting (if a bit cannibalistic).
One thing I did love is the way Pinborough mashed up various fairy tales, twisting them to create a new narrative that somehow still made perfect sense. I appreciated the way she wove them all together, it felt pretty seamless and it was fun to see these familiar tales getting a new spin on them. I especially love what she did with Beauty and the Beast here, it felt original and I loved it, it was just a really clever way make that story something completely new. The other thing she did that I loved is bring some darkness into the story. I wish things had taken a turn for the dark sooner in fact–those parts were exquisitely written and had such an intriguing atmosphere to them, I wish that atmosphere had carried throughout the rest of the writing. It put me in mind of Tanith Lee’s work in some regards, but it never quite reached her levels of atmospheric prose.
Overall, this was an entertaining read and if it was a bit uneven in atmosphere and lacking in character depth it made up for that with cleverness and originality. I’ll definitely check out more of this author’s work. 3/5 stars.