HomeReviewReview: Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

(Description nicked from Goodreads.com.)

“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?”

This is one of the rare books that I simply could not make myself finish.  I got about a third of the way through it before realizing that it just wasn’t holding my interest and put it down.  I feel bad about that–I try to make every effort to finish a book once I start it–but as I get older I am more likely to follow the maxim “Life is too short to read bad books”.

I’m just not sure what this book was trying to do.  It’s not exactly a twist on the Disney version of the fairy tale, since the story doesn’t follow the movie at all.  It starts with Aurora being kissed by the prince, but then the prince falls asleep and the story goes from there.  Aurora is dreaming through the whole novel, living in a world created by Maleficent, one that paints the evil fairy as good.  I’m not quite sure where the dream came from–I can believe Maleficent’s dying curse being one that sends the prince to sleep, but why create this elaborate dream world?  It’s the same problem I had with the movie The Matrix: if you can keep someone asleep forever, why let them dream and give them a possible out?

It’s entirely possible that this question is answered further into the book, but sadly, what I read didn’t encourage me to keep going and find out.  Aurora is shallow, Maleficent is a parody of her normal self, and there’s really nobody else to keep the novel going.  Yes, Prince Philip is supposed to show up later, but I don’t see what he would add the story.

I’m not going to give this book a chocolate kiss rating, because it wouldn’t be fair, given that I didn’t finish the book.  I also won’t say that there’s nothing redeeming about this novel, because I’m sure that there are people for whom the premise would draw them in.  For me, though, it didn’t work.

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