Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review / Blog Tour: Sleeping Beauty's Daughters by Diane Zehaler

By: Diane Zahler
Published by: Harper Collins Children
Released on: August 27th, 2013
Source: book from the author to review
5 Stars: I Loved It!
Purchase it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

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.

I simply adore Diane's fairytale retellings. What Diane does in Sleeping Beauty's Daughters is brilliant. I love how she's able to take a beloved fairytale and not only give is spin, but include some mythology into her story. This makes for a read that fans both young and older alike can enjoy. Instead of this story centering on Sleeping Beauty herself, we get to see that the sleeping curse started long before Princess Aurora was ever born. This curse dates back to when her mother, the now Queen, was a baby. 

I loved that while the story spans over time that includes both Aurora and her Queen mother, it focuses on the two sisters that Beauty has, Aurora and Luna. I enjoyed getting to read about the two sisters. Aurora is every bit the kind of Princess I picture in a fairytale. Her younger sister, the feisty, fearless Luna is the kind of Princess I totally love, because she doesn't care about what's she's suppose to. Instead she wants adventure to do what she feels she's destined to do, and that is not to marry a Prince. It's the bond these two sisters have that totally won me over.

True to each of Diane's previous fairytale retellings, this book is packed full of adventure and fun. When the curse threatens to take hold of Aurora, it's Luna who steps in to help save her. It's her feistiness that will be vital in her quest to keep her sister from falling under the dreaded curse. The adventure starts when these two daring Princesses set off together on the quest to put an end to the curse, and track down the one person who can remove it. Finding her won't be easy and time is against them.

From the dangers on the high sea, to dangerous land creatures, and figuring out how to out smart an ancient fairy who created the curse, these two Princesses prove that they can do anything. I loved that it's during this part of the story we get to see some of the mythology that Diane incorporated into Aurora's story, come to life, and the twist it plays in the storyline. Thankfully these two Princess have a little help along their way. They definitely discover more than they bargained for in this journey. If  traveling wasn't hard enough, Luna has to make sure her sister doesn't fall asleep. If she does, the curse will be in place for 100 years! 

This fairytale takes what I loved about the original telling, turns it upside down, creating a story that I absolutely loved and wanted much more from.  Diane's middle grade books have become some of my favorites. I love what she's been able to do with her fairytale retellings. Not only is her storytelling exciting, she's given me books I can read with my daughter, and for me that's priceless. Diane's books are ones I highly recommend picking up. These are great for older elementary school readers, and middle grade readers. 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~