Review: “A Kiss in Time” by Alex Flinn

Alex Flinn’s A Kiss in Time is another unique interpretation of a fairy tale in a modern setting.  Sleeping Beauty is a classic, but how about a new twist on this known love story?

The magical elements within the original storyline are all in the plot of A Kiss in Time.  However, instead of focusing on only one main character’s perspective of the story, the author presents a two-sided narrative that alternates between the first-person voices of the princess (“Sleeping Beauty”) and her rescuer (“the prince”).

Princess Talia of Euphrasia (a fictional country bordering Belgium) was bestowed with many “gifts” by her fairy godmothers.  Malvolia, an evil witch, is responsible for casting the infamous curse that will cause Talia to prick her finger on a spindle and die.  Although the curse is mollified, the entire kingdom of Euphrasia lives in fear and extreme caution until Talia’s sixteenth birthday.  Talia herself is almost a prisoner in her own home because she has no personal freedom.  However, destiny cannot ever be thwarted.  Talia and consequently all of Euphrasia fall under the curse due to circumstances and they are doomed to sleep until true love’s kiss will awaken the princess.  That is when Jack O’Neill of the twenty-first century arrives.

Jack is a seventeen year-old American tourist who is a slacker with no personal ambitions and a guy on the rebound from his recent break-up with his girlfriend, Amber.  On an impulse of pure boredom, Jack and his best friend Travis sneak away from their guided tour and leave Belgium for the nearest beach, only to accidentally enter into Euphrasia.  After stumbling across Talia’s tower, Jack’s actions meld with fate, ending in an untimely kiss.  All of newly awakened Euphrasia, Talia, and the rest of the royal family are completely shocked with the evident difference in time, the present world’s reality and resulting changes, and most of all, the fact that they actually succumbed to the curse in the first place despite all precautions.  Jack’s favor lands him in the dungeon and Talia begins to feel like persona non grata in her own home on account of her foolishness.  The two secretly escape together for their own selfish reasons and return from Europe to Jack’s home in Miami, Florida.

However, their personal problems seem to be increasing the farther they get away from Euphrasia.  Talia’s sole mission is to fulfill her destiny and make Jack fall in love with her, while Jack’s only purpose in agreeing to bring Talia along is to make Amber jealous.  Jack initially thinks that Talia is a spoiled brat, but his opinions start to change when his life, his family, and his own temperament are changed for the better by Talia’s thoughtful attitude and charming personality.  Now that Malvolia has returned to exact her final vengeance and Talia’s stay in Miami is already limited, Jack must try to save everything he had gained by one wayward kiss.

Since Talia sleeps for 316 years, A Kiss in Time explores how a person from past times might react to today’s technology, modern conveniences, and modern society.  The author also compares modern ideas concerning family, marriage, and beauty to those of the seventeenth century.  As Flinn delves into the untold details and unanswered questions in the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, her main characters complement each other in her modern setting of Miami.  At first, Jack and Talia share a mutual hatred; Jack despises how self-centered, spoiled, and dependent Talia acts, while Talia scorns Jack’s immaturity and his frequent discouragement.  However, both Talia and Jack begin to learn from one another.  Talia was given perfect traits like beauty and intelligence by the fairies, but as a person she is far from being perfect.  Jack teaches her how to be self-reliant and unselfish.  Talia convinces Jack that his parents and his sister truly care about him, and she helps him discover his real goals and interests.  Jack’s low self-esteem is lifted by Talia’s persistence in showing him the truth about his life.  Jack stops behaving the way people expect him to and he finally establishes himself as a unique individual.

Talia’s experiences as a modern teenager outside of Euphrasia further develop the author’s opinions about modern issues. Not only are Talia’s comments and reactions humorous, but they also display an honest perception of modern culture and society while conveying modern life’s impressions on Talia. Moreover, the way that Talia struggles with modern teen language and current trends make her character even more endearing with all its old-fashioned qualities and moral principles. Talia’s wholesome, innocent, and seventeenth century outlook on the modern world and Jack’s knowledgeable analyses of teenage behavior are opposites that attract in the novel. An unusual diversion in Flinn’s take on Sleeping Beauty is the fact that Jack is a “commoner,” not a prince. This difference contributes to Talia’s gradual understanding of humility and independence, not to mention respect for a person instead of his/her title or status in the world. As with Kendra in Beastly, Flinn shows that perhaps the villainess in Sleeping Beauty wasn’t evil but misunderstood and deserved a second overview. Despite sexual references and mild profanity, A Kiss in Time is a rhythmic version of a well-known classic with a careful interweaving of wisdom and moral advice that will entertain and reward all who take the time to read it.

Original review: Part 1: Make time for this modern retelling of ‘Sleeping Beauty’Part 2: Make time for this modern retelling of ‘Sleeping Beauty’Part 3: Make time for this modern retelling of ‘Sleeping Beauty’Part 4: Make time for this modern retelling of ‘Sleeping Beauty’,


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