Briar Rose, a clever peasant girl, feels only pity for the mysterious Princess Rosalinda–the hidden princess who was cursed to prick her finger on a spindle and fall asleep until true love’s kiss awakens her. But her pity turns into horror when Briar learns she is the secret princess, and Isaia, her childhood friend, is really a Magic Knight sworn to protect her.
Briar reluctantly embraces her new life as a princess, and is reunited with her mother, father, and her grandfather–the king. But calamity strikes when Carabosso, the evil mage who cursed her as a baby, returns and plunders the countryside. Unfortunately, the king refuses to dispatch the Magic Knights to protect the people, and instead orders the knights to stay in the capital to guard Briar. But Briar is not the demure princess her family desires, and she vows to save her people if her parents and grandfather will not.
Oh K.M. Shea, will I ever get tired of reading your books? The answer is NO!
Sleeping Beauty is the latest addition to the Timeless Fairy Tales collection by K.M. Shea and while I really liked it I think it might be my least favorite so far. Note though that while it’s at the bottom for me in this series it’s still a solid 4 stars.
I found the story concept an original spin on the classic sleeping beauty tale. It maintained all of the standard elements while being packed with the humor and quirkiness fans love so much from Shea.
One of the best parts of K.M. Shea’s books are her characters and I was not let down by Briar Rose. I found her so relatable. Here’s a character with no particular strengths to set her apart but is so strong in her convictions it does not matter. She makes things happen by shear force of will.
Unfortunately some of the secondary characters suffered in this story which is why it’s not my top pick. It was also a little odd that the actual sleeping curse is resolved halfway through the book instead of at the end. I naturally expected the whole “Awaken at true love’s first kiss” to be the climax of the story. Instead it’s used as more of a catalyst for the characters to deal with issues they should have been facing much earlier.
That aside the often awkward relationship between Briar and Isaia was sweet to see unfold. There were plenty of times I kind of just wanted to tell Isaia to get over his self pity and just tell Briar he loved her. But it all came together in the end so it was fine.
My advice is if you are interested in this series (you really should be) then don’t start with this one. Of course the most obvious place to begin is with Beauty and the Beast which is #1. However none of the books from this collection must be read in order to know what’s going on.