Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty
by Jane Yolen
256 pages
Late Elementary+

Everyone knows the story of Sleeping Beauty, the girl who slept for one hundred years.  They know of the evil fairy that cursed her, and the good fairy that helped save her.  Or at least everyone thinks they know the story.  Nobody even stops to consider why the fairy cursed the princess.

Meet Gorse, a thirteenth child of the Shouting Fey, who is accident prone.  While she learns from her father's books (from past present and future!), she also listens to all the Aunts, learning about Shouts, Wishes, and Curses.  She also learns about the King's Bidding, and how her family must do it.  When the King Bids the family to come bless his new daughter, they all must come and give her presents.

Unfortunately, Gorse is sick with fever, and misses the time.  Fearful for her family's safety, she grabs what she can and rushes out the door.  Instead taking the normal, long way around, Gorse heads down a shortcut, stumbles on a root, and tumbles into a hole.  Just what is down there?  And will she make it in time to save her family?

I loved this twist on Sleeping Beauty.  I've seen stories told from the fairy perspective, but they usually still keep the same alliances: good is good, bad is still bad.  But this story twists everything around and all presumptions go out the window!  This story isn't so much about Sleeping Beauty, but about the fairies and their backgrounds.  Fun twist!

As always, Jane Yolen does a fantastic job.  Great characters who connect to each other, great narrative voice, and an original idea.  Definitely on my recommend list!

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