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Review: The Sleeping Beauty, Mercedes Lackey

In the kingdom of Eltaria, the Tradition reigns supreme.  So it’s virtually inevitable that young princess Rosamund will lose her lovely kind mother Celeste, and that she’ll have a fairy godmother, and that her father will marry an evil Stepmother to send a Hunter after her.  The Tradition will always try to bend fate in the direction of a fairy tale – but it can be subverted.  So when Rosa’s father does die, her fairy godmother disguises herself as an evil sorceress and makes a deal with Rosa’s father – but Rosa still flees and is captured by dwarves who are far from the kindly ones described in Snow White.  This time, however, there are two princes wandering the forest; which way will the Tradition bend Rosa’s life next?

This was quite a clever and entertaining twist on traditional fairy tales.  The author starts off, rather obviously, with Snow White, but also makes space for Sleeping Beauty which can also suit Rosa’s situation.  I really liked the idea of a world which tries to obey the dictates of fairy tales – no matter which fairy tale – and each different kingdom in the world draws from different mythologies.  Siegfried, who is pretty obviously Rosa’s main love interest as he’s the only male narrator, is haunted by a shield-maiden in a ring of fire straight out of traditional Nordic myths, as he is from the North.

The characters themselves were enchanting in their own ways.  Rosa started off a little too whiny; she insists that she’s self-sufficient but requires rescuing from the evil dwarves nonetheless.  However, as soon as she’s woken up with a kiss which she decidedly does not want, she gets a bit feistier which makes her easier to relate to.  I felt the story was a bit less cohesive after the Snow White part ended, as it doesn’t really imitate any other fairy tales (that I know about) in so much detail, but it was still very much a fun book.  People fall in love, fight battles, and solve riddles trying to win the princess’s hand in marriage; it’s all good stuff.

This is the fifth book in a series of similar fairy tale themed stories set in this world.  This is the first that I’ve read and I had no trouble following along; I probably wouldn’t even have known it was a series if LibraryThing hadn’t told me so.  I liked The Sleeping Beauty enough that I plan to seek out the earlier books in the series.  It’s an intriguing world, and since I like fairy tales, I’m looking forward to see which other ones she’s played with so well.

I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for review for free through Netgalley.

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