Review: “Sleeping Beauty, the One Who Took the Really Long Nap” by Wendy Mass

Sleeping Beauty, the One Who Took the Really Long Nap is the second volume in the Twice Upon a Time series by Wendy Mass.  Also featuring a two-sided narrative like Rapunzel: The One With All the Hair, this retelling of Sleeping Beauty compares the sleeping beauty’s story to that of the prince.

Princess Rose was endowed at her christening with fairy gifts of beauty, intelligence, grace, and more.  One fairy wasn’t invited thanks to a persistent death rumor, but it is a mistake that burdens Princess Rose and the entire kingdom with an infamous curse.  Nevertheless, Rose eventually tries to make the best of it and live her life fully with her parents and her best friend Sara until her sixteenth birthday.  Whether she tries her hand at painting, cooking a meal single-handedly, or horseback riding, Rose is an interesting character with an independent and creative spirit.

One hundred years in the future, the Prince is born.  Without an actual name, the prince is always called the Prince.  His family is just as unique as his current name—his mother the queen is part ogre, and her ogre nature is unfortunately unleashed on certain days every month.  Having a mother with bloodthirsty tendencies means that the Prince has to hide away often, and as a result his family life suffers.  When he befriends a knight-in-training named Jonathan, the Prince is determined to stay away from the castle as much as possible and learn survival skills from his new friend.  However, his prolonged stays in the forest help him discover a hidden castle.  What is even stranger is that it is an exact replica of his home, while the interior looks clean and untouched for years.  The Prince’s curiosity turns into a true quest to solve the mystery and find out the truth about the old castle, no matter what it takes.

As the Prince’s sixteenth birthday draws near and the hundred year period for Rose’s sleep comes to an end, Princess Rose and the Prince must decide if they are meant to transcend time and live happily ever after together.  The author again ruminates on the details of the fairy tale her novel is based on, but romance and magic from the original storyline are maintained this time.  Mass still gives her version of the story an innovative edge, from the invisible barrier surrounding the old castle to the exclusion of Rose’s parents and her kingdom from Rose’s curse-induced sleep.  Rose herself is a humble personality who feels guilty because her talents were given, not innate, which is the root of her longing to achieve something on her own.  Furthermore, her unprejudiced friendship with a commoner like Sara is another reason why Rose is such an admirable fairy tale princess.  The Prince is a loner who has had an unhappy childhood and a difficult adolescence.  His determination to save Princess Rose, his respect for his parents despite everything, and his friendship with Jonathan prove the Prince to be a real prince and a good match for Princess Rose.  They are two characters who are looking for mutual acceptance.

With surprises and humor along the storyline, the author presents another worthy addition to her series with Sleeping Beauty, the One Who Took the Really Long Nap.  Since the Twice Upon a Time series has not been completed yet, the reader can expect more fairy tale novels by Wendy Mass in the near future.

Original review: Part 2: Wendy Mass joins the rank of fairy tale re-inventorsPart 3: Wendy Mass joins the rank of fairy tale re-inventors,


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