Once upon a time...
A beautiful princess is born to the King and Queen, and at her christening, she is subject to two very powerful works of magic. The first is from her aunt, whose invitation was forgotton. Princess Aurore is cursed to prick her finger on her sixteenth birthday, and die. But the second spell comes from her godmother, who decrees that she will prick her finger, but will merely sleep for a hundred years until woken by a kiss.
Because of the first spell, the young princess is forbidden to leave the castle or go anywhere near a needle. But Aurore feels called to the outside world, and, with the help of her cousin Prince Oswald, she is finally allowed outside. She grows up under the teaching of her father, who instructs her on how to be a ruler of the people. It's not long before the villagers fall in love with their cursed princess, but the nobles are far from happy.
The nobles long ago fell in love with Oswald, who was originally declared successor to the throne. But the king changes his mind, and declares Aurore to be his heir after all. But when her sixteenth birthday comes and goes, things begin to get messy, and Aurore will have to face the two spells inside her.
First of all, don't pay any attention at all to any other synopsis you read. They don't make any sense.
Second of all, for some reason, I wasn't expecting much from this book. Maybe it was the unattractive cover (mine really wasn't very appealing), or maybe it was one of the lame summaries I read (just stay away from them), but something made it seem very uninteresting. Despite this, I decided to give it a try. I'm really glad I did.
Aurore is easy to like, even when she's being childish and impetuous. I still can't help but sympathize with her, even when I know she should calm down. The small cast of supporting characters (her father, Oswald, Ironheart, La Foret) are all very well done likeable.
Most of the plot is very well done, but it feels like a lot of buildup and not much else. I kept expecting something big and dramatic and horrifying, but it never came. Nevertheless, it was still very interesting and the difficult plot of having a main character whose supposed to be asleep for the story was handled very well.
I'm not entirely happy with the ending, though. I think it could've worked, but it just didn't quite click for me. But it was still done much better than most of the people who try to pull off that kind of thing, so I'm not terribly upset.
Bottom line: Beauty Sleep is a very good fairy tale retelling that I would immediately recommend to Sleeping Beauty fans, with good characters and good writing. It may not be perfect, but it's pretty close. I will definitely be looking into Cameron Dokey's other fairy tale novels.
You might like this if: you like fairy tale retellings; you like short, fun fantasy novels; your favorite princess is Sleeping Beauty; you have a soft spot for time travel or enchanted forests; if you aren't sick of unconventional princesses; or if you were cursed as a baby and need a good example of how to get your own happily ever after.