With signs and traditions pointing to an all-out war set to break out among the kingdoms, Rosamund, the king's daughter, is "playing dead" as two princes show up at the palace intent on waking her with a kiss. But, as the two of them start to fight it out, Rosa's godmother cuts them all short and takes charge. Now, with two princes competing for the hand of Sleeping Beauty-one of them, the one with roving hands (Prince Leopold) probably "should" be her prince, while the other (Prince Siegfried) doesn't seem to belong here at all-more complications occur. The king dies and the neighbors start looking at Rosa's kingdom. But with the palace filling with young and old princes intent on winning Rosamund's love, invading the kingdom and putting those young men in peril would mean incurring the wrath of thirty other countries!
Mercedes Lackey's The Sleeping Beauty is a lovely and fun fantasy romance. In some ways it's a very old school fantasy romance, but yet it felt more modern and fresh. I really enjoyed it. It almost reminded of Shrek (but without the crudeness) or Hoodwinked in a way because all the characters knew they lived in a fairy tale land and a force known as The Tradition is trying to force them down different paths to make a proper fairy tale happen. Unfortunately, The Tradition is not smart so it senses that you have all the ingredients for heroic dragon killing scene, except maybe the dragon's not actually bad and maybe the village didn't need to be destroyed so the hero could slay the dragon. So our characters are valiantly trying to outmaneuver The Tradtion and stay one step ahead of "destiny" before their lives and the whole kingdom goes to hell in a handbasket.
The whole cast of this book really was wonderful. The villains were properly villainous and the heroes were very heroic, but they also had a sense of humor and wisdom and their own back stories. The Godmother, Lily, was probably my favorite character. She is so not your typical Godmother. She's definitely good, but she'll do what it takes to get the job done. Oh, and she's hot. No grandmotherly looking Godmother for the Kingdom of Eltaria.
Rose, our heroine is a great character. She's smart, capable, has a good sense of humor and is by turns tough and vulnerable. She made a very likable heroine.
I won't say which suitor wins her hand, but I was very happy with the outcome.
The title of the book is a little misleading. This really isn't a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story. It's a veritable mash up of fairy tales from Snow White to Cinderella to just about any fairy tale you can think of. There are dragons, dwarves, fae, unicorns, firebirds, heroes, princes and magic all over the place. The story was smart and fun and I kept wondering how it all would end.
I give The Sleeping Beauty a definite B+.
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