Book Review – Once Upon a Dream – A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell
A darker, twisted retelling of the classic Disney story of Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent has taken over Aurora’s dreamworld. Can Aurora defeat her and wake herself up before it’s too late?
“It’s not bravery if you don’t feel fear, right? If you’re not afraid, then you’re not really forcing yourself to do something brave.”
What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
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’, 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?
So, here we have the second book in a series of twisted Disney retellings.
I absolutely loved the first book in this series. I read A Whole New World (see my review for that here) last month and decided that eventually I wanted to read every book in the series because I am a massive Disney nut!
When I saw that the second in the series was this one, Sleeping Beauty, I actually put it off for a while because I didn’t expect to like it very much. I did not enjoy the original Sleeping Beauty story and Aurora is one of my least favourite Disney Princesses so I really didn’t go into this book with any great expectations at all.
Once I started reading, I was actually surprised to find that I did like it a tiny bit more than I expected to. The story is totally different to the one we all know.
Princess Aurora is asleep and when Prince Phillip comes to plant a kiss on her lips to wake her up, he ends up dozing off as well and then suddenly the whole kingdom is living in Aurora’s dream and the world is very much twisted and wrong.
The good fairies are actually evil, Maleficent is Queen and everyone is locked inside the castle because apparently the Outside is poison and anyone venturing out there will succumb to immediate death. An interesting concept!
My issues with this book were mostly with the characters. I still couldn’t bring myself to like Aurora, even with the changes made to her in this book I struggled to relate to her or like her or really empathise with her struggles.
Prince Phillip is an idiot. A cheerful, typical Disney Prince and that really just gets on my nerves to be honest so I was never going to like him.
Maleficent felt like too much of a Cliché and the story overall was very predictable.
I think the whole concept was really quite good but the book itself failed to stir up any real feelings or excitement in me. I just didn’t care about what was happening or even if Aurora actually managed to wake herself up and save the kingdom.
I just wasn’t that interested.
That being said, Liz Braswell writes a very engaging and imaginative world. She takes the stories you already know and rewrites them in such a way that you still feel like you know the characters and the world they are living in but the story is entirely different.
Her style of writing is very easy to follow and definitely very much young adult which makes for a very quick and easy read.
I didn’t hate it but I didn’t like it either.