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Author: Elizabeth Darcy
Year Published: 2013
Synopsis: **Note: This book contains some mature content**
A reimagining of the sleeping beauty tale.
When her beloved Prince Devaran is abducted from her parents’ castle during their engagement announcement ceremony, Princess Jessmyn vows that nothing will stop her from bringing his abductors to justice. Rescuing Dev won't be easy, and Jess will have to form an alliance with the other Realms if she's to win the most important battle of her life.
Imprisoned in a forbidding tower, Dev tries to find a way to warn Jess of the perils she’ll face. Weakened by deprivation and by the drugs administered by the madwoman who kidnapped him, Dev drifts between sleep and consciousness. As he relives cherished moments spent with Jess, Dev wonders if he’ll ever again be with the woman he loves.
Review: Fairy tale retellings are my favorite types of stories. I love when an old, classic story is rewritten in a fresh new way, with new characters and new situations. And this book does exactly that. Instead of the Princess being the "sleeping beauty", Prince Dev is captured and made to sleep against his will. Then, his bride-to-be and warrior princess Jess decides it's up to her to rescue him from the clutches of the evil woman who took him.
But honestly, that's about where the similarities to Sleeping Beauty end. Dev isn't cursed from birth by a villain as awesome as Maleficent, he's not hidden in the woods in the hopes that he'll never touch a spinning wheel, and he doesn't sleep until his true love comes to kiss him awake. There's no "Prince Charming" that just randomly decides to swoop in and save him. So this is basically a VERY loose reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty tale.
I think I would have liked this book more if it hadn't been presented as a Sleeping Beauty tale. I spent too much of the time looking for similarities than I spent appreciating the differences. I love a strong heroine, and Jess is just that, but she didn't really get many opportunities to show her strength. Everything is just too easy for her - thy figure out fairly quickly who took Dev to begin with, the troops they need basically just fall into their laps. they know exactly where Dev is being held, and then Jess manages to find Dev with little to no problem. She goes through a lot emotionally, but I found those parts to be pretty tedious. I wish we had been able to see more of her training her troops or leading them into battle or something.
I felt the same way about her mother, the warrior queen Farah, and her future brother-in-law, Tanvir. These characters had so much potential, but we just don't learn much about them. With the little bit of information we had bout Tanvir, I found myself liking him more than I liked Dev. I think it was just because I could relate more to him (he's very logical and always has his nose stuck in a book).I loved Farah in the scenes she was in, but I wish we had gotten to learn more about her past and about how she became such a kick-ass warrior queen. The minor characters are nice, but they're very underdeveloped. At least in my opinion.
For me, the beginning of this book was very slow. It took me until about halfway through to finally get into the story, and I think a lot of that had to do with how many flashbacks there were to how Dev and Jess fell in love. I mean, it's interesting, and I usually love flashbacks, but there were just too many too often for my tastes. The next 40% of this book was great - the pace picked up and we got to see some action and learn a little bit more about the villain. And then the last part was just... WTF. The way the villain was defeated seemed like a HUGE cop out, and very out of character. I found myself very confused as to why and how things happened the way they did. And then after Dev is taken home, the rest of the book just seems unnecessary. It's very epilogue-y, and sappy feel-good epilogues really annoy me. This book should have ended like 4 chapters before it actually did.
I think, going into this book, I had too many expectations about this being a Sleeping Beauty story and that's why I ended up so disappointed with it. I didn't hate it, but it just wasn't what I thought it was going to be and what I hoped it would be, and I found myself skimming more than reading. I think someone looking for a fantasy romance YA book would enjoy this, as long as you go into it not looking for all the things to be Sleeping Beauty related. Just take it for ed by kings and queens and split into world ruled by kings and queens and split into world ruled by kings and queens and split into Five Realms. I wanted to like this book so much, but I can only give it a 2/5.