Welcome to my stop on Diane Zahler’s blog tour for her newly released Middle Grade fantasy Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters. I’m excited to be part of this tour because I love Diane’s books! I’ve read almost all of them, and they have all captivated me with her twists on familiar fairy tales. As the title of Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters suggests, this is an alternate version of Sleeping Beauty that chronicles the adventures of Sleeping Beauty’s daughters. They are 12 and 9, and don’t understand why they live such an isolated existence. There are no sharp knives or scissors, or anything with a pointy end to be found anywhere in the castle. All food is sent from the local village in bite sized pieces. Their father heads to the village to get his hair cut, and the castle guards don’t even have weapons (maybe they have mallets to fight off possible threats of attack?).
After Luna accidentally cuts herself, giving their emotionally fragile mother quite a fright, they learn about their mother’s history. She was cursed as a baby, and after being pricked on the finger, she fell into a deep, deep sleep that lasted one hundred years. Their father awakened her with a kiss, and when the evil fairy Manon discovered that they were living their happy ever after, she cursed them again. This time, it would be one of their daughters that would fall into a deep, deep slumber, only when she woke up, everyone she knew and loved would be dead and gone. That’s really scary! It would terrify me to find myself completely alone, so I could easily imagine how terrifying that thought was to Luna and Aurora. When Aurora pricks her finger due to Luna’s carelessness, it becomes a desperate race to find their fairy godmother before Aurora takes a really, really long nap.
As in every Diane Zahler book, the characters made the story for me. They are young and have little practical world experience, yet they rally together to accomplish great things. Luna is stubborn and bold, while Aurora is more timid and hesitant to face new challenges. Her idea of a good time, like mine, is curling up in the library with a good book. The curse and the threat of sleeping for a century get them both moving to find a cure, and with the help of an orphan fisherman, they head off into danger. Each adds strength to their group, and without all three working together, they would fail at their task. They all grow and gain confidence as they face one frightening challenge after another. They aren’t content to just sit around and wait for an adult to solve their problems; nope, they dive right into action, determined to find a way to reverse the terrible curse that’s been placed on Aurora.
The other thing I love about these books is that the girls don’t take a backseat to the boys. They are every bit as brave, strong, and courageous as the guys. Probably more so, because the girls are the ones to get things moving in the first place. I like that they wait to be rescued; they take control of their own destiny and try to figure things out for themselves.
Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters is very fast-paced, as the sisters race against time to save Aurora from her terrible fate. Along the way they learn to embrace both the good and bad in each other. They also make friendships that will last a lifetime, and face terrors beyond their imagining. Through all of their adventures, they discover a new appreciation for each other, and the courage to overcome any obstacle – together.
So…did I like it? You bet! 4.5 / 5 stars!
About the book:
The classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is transformed into a dazzling new story of two sisters fighting a powerful curse by Diane Zahler, the acclaimed author of The Thirteenth Princess. Briskly paced and full of lush descriptions, readers who enjoy the work of Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine will be swept away by this spellbinding novel.
The daughters of Sleeping Beauty, Princesses Aurora and Luna, have grown up in a cliff-top palace by the sea, where they are carefully protected by their parents. No one visits, the girls cannot stray beyond the castle walls, and all sharp objects are forbidden here.
But accidents will happen—particularly when an old curse still has power. Soon, in spite of all precautions, Aurora is struggling not to slip into an enchanted sleep.
Frantic, the princesses accept the help of a young fisherman named Symon and embark on a daring ocean voyage to find their aunt—a fairy who may be able to break the spell. From fearsome beasts to raging storms, many dangers befall them, yet they must not give up . . . for if Aurora sleeps, she will not wake for one hundred years.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:
August 27: www.theresabook.com
August 28: www.bookalicious.org
August 30: http://www.iceybooks.com/
August 31: www.greenbeanteenqueen.com
September 1: http://mundiemoms.blogspot.com/search?q=zahler
You can learn more about Diane by visiting: