Fantasy Book Review: Once Upon a Dream

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

It should be simple-a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy’s last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape-created from her very own dreams. Aurora isn’t alone-a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent’s agents follow 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?

Aurora is caught up in a dream world that has replaced everyone’s memories. When she begins to find clues to outside the castle, she eventually discovers that everything she knows is a lie. Prince Phillip slays the dragon and kisses Aurora to awaken her, but instead falls asleep as well. While he fell in love (instantly) with her, Aurora has no memory of him. Still, the two work together to defeat Maleficent once and for all.

Once Upon a Dream is an inspired re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty. In fact, the author takes the original Disney story and expounds on it – building it to a darker, complex tale. The insta-love from the movie is expounded on here and made more realistic. This magical story is full of suspense and captivating characters. The setting and darker, twisted feel reminded me a bit of a Neil Gaiman fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh take on a familiar fairy tale.

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