What if the sleeping beauty never woke up?
I was excited to read Once Upon a Dream as Sleeping Beauty was my favourite Disney Princess film growing up – though now I think about it that may have just been by default as it was one of the only Disney Princess film we had on video (no Snow White, Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast in my house, no reason for our not having them, I guess I just never asked for them). I really enjoyed the way Liz Braswell twisted the tale of Aladdin in “A Whole New World” and was eager to see where she was going to take Aurora.
I liked the plot, I thought the twist Braswell put on the original story was inspired and in-keeping with her whole twisted theme. However, I did not like Aurora. I found her character very grating. We see the story through her eyes so a lot of it is an internal monologue, where she goes over, and over and over the main plot points (which I won’t specify as I don’t want to give anything away), but I found myself thinking “I get it, you’ve been lied to a lot. I remember. I have actually been reading this book – you don’t have to keep reminding me whats happened every twenty pages.” I understand Braswell has a lot of time to fill while the the characters are walking around but Aurora’s internal monologue is so repetitive I found myself struggling to keep reading.
The interactions between her and Price Phillip are awkward to read and at times I found that she was rude to him and dismissive of his issues, shutting him down by comparing them to hers. Making them seem unimportant. At one point she has an argument with Price Phillip because he didn’t tell her he was a prince when they first met, when the whole “love at first sight” thing happened. He gives a very good reason as to why he did’t mention it, also as to why he doesn’t advertise his being a price, I felt her annoyance was unjust.
All in all I find her too selfish to be a relatable or even likable character, but I guess as the majority of the story happens in her own dreamworld the whole “everything is about me” vibe she gives off is understandable.
The Aurora/Briar Rose/Aurora Rose we are following does find the concept of “love at first sight” hard to believe, so that redeems her in my eyes.
While I didn’t like Aurora, Maleficent did not disappoint. She was awesomely wicked and oozed evil. I felt like she should have had more page time as she injected intrigue and variation to the tale.
All in all the plot twist was very good but I felt the characters and at times the execution to the story let it down as a whole. The story did seem to drag at points but it always picked again…even if only to start dragging again a few pages after. I have read a few reviews where people have stopped reading after the first few chapters as they disliked the plot twist so much. I can understand the cause of this, but as the story develops the initial situation (if you will) is elaborated upon and does end up making sense, I thought it was a really good twist on the original tale.
I wouldn’t read Once Upon a Time again, but I am still going to read A Tale As Old As Time which is next in the Twisted Tales series. I think maybe if I hadn’t enjoyed A Whole New World as much I probably wouldn’t.
Did anyone else find the character of Aurora annoying and hard to like? I’d love to know peoples thoughts on that or any other part of the book.
Favourite quotes and passages from Once Upon a Dream:
The faries’ wings fanned up tiny tornados of encroaching dust.
Sometimes she would spend a whole afternoon watching little motes of dust doing their slow dances in the golden light like lazy, other-worldly fairies.
Water seeped out of everything like magic; she saw a bead of dew appear and pull itself together at the tip of a pine branch like a living thing.