Published by Disney Press on 4/5/16
Genres: Young Adult
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some slight violence)
What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.
It should be simple--a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess's, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.
With a desperate fairy's last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent's agents following 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?
The first book in this series of standalones honestly didn’t thrill me. In fact, I’m not even quite sure why I decided to read this one, but I wanted to give the author and the concept another chance, and I’m really glad I did because this one was much more enjoyable for me than the Aladdin book.
This book turns Sleeping Beauty’s story on its ear. It starts up right before where the Disney movie ended – Prince Phillip has just made his way to Aurora so that he can give her True Love’s Kiss and wake her up. Except, instead he falls asleep too and ends up being pulled into her dream. Aurora is dreaming up an alternate reality (thanks to Maleficent) where the good fairy Maleficent has rescued the world from Aurora’s evil parents!
What Fed My Addiction:
- The alternate story. I was fascinated by the alternate reality that Maleficent created and how she twisted everything to make herself look like the savior. This was such a fun take on the tale!
- Dream, reality or lie? One of the main themes of the book is the fact that Aurora has to discover who she truly is. She feels like she’s been living through one lie after another. She finds out that her entire dream life (which she feels like she’s lived in its entirety) has been fake and THEN starts to remember pieces of her “real” life – which she discovers was pretty much all a lie, since she never knew she was a princess and didn’t know her aunts were fairies. It’s all given her a warped sense of reality and she can’t decide what to believe or how to feel about any of it! (Including Prince Phillip. I love that Braswell turned the original story’s instalove into a much more relatable romance in this book.)
- Aurora’s true gifts. I loved the message of self-discovery in the end. Aurora doesn’t need the prince to save her, and she discovers that she’s far more than a pretty princess meant to marry her true love and nothing more.
What Left Me Wanting More:
- Bit slow toward the beginning. While I loved the very beginning of the book and the discovery of the alternate reality, there was a slight lull once we discovered Maleficent’s plot and before we got to the part where Aurora realized she was being lied to and met up with Phillip. It wasn’t enough to really mar my enjoyment of the book overall, though.
If you’re a fan of Disney movies or fairy tale retellings, I’d pick this book up. Even if, like me, you weren’t a huge fan of the first book, I’d give this one a try. Braswell had me seeing Sleeping Beauty in a whole new light! I give this one 4/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***