Hey Book Bloggians! This is my review of my book club, The Second Star Society's February pick, Once Upon a Dream, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, so here goes! 😄
I have started to really like this author. I really liked the first in this series, A Whole New World, which is a retelling of Aladdin, (that I also did a review of. You can find it here.) My favorite thing about her is how she takes these well known and loved Disney characters that tend to be the stereotypical, 2 dimensional, cookie cutter, fairytale characters that we are used to seeing and gives them so much more realistic depth and makes them so much more relateable, which makes me love them even more. 😊
The plot I found to be a little slow in the middle, and I had a hard time getting through it. I found it a little cliché, though also I might've been bored only because I made myself trudge through reading 100 pages of it in a day because I was so behind in reading it due to a reading slump. But I am glad I powered through it, because I loved the ending! There is an awesome battle scene at the end, and Aurora's character development was awesome, and ugh, the whole finale was just so great!
I was a little confused at what was happening in the beginning, but once my brain caught up and understood what was happening, I really could appreciate the setting. Aurora's dreamworld is so creepy and confusing, but yet really beautiful and magical at the same time, and I don't think I've ever read anything like it. It was interesting to try and figure out a little bit was was real and what wasn't, and all of the creatures were so creepy and all of the magic was really cool!
At first, I didn't really connect with any of the characters, but later throughout the book I ended up really loving them. Prince Phillip is such an unprince-like dork and it's soooo adorable and he's also just so awesome and supportive and I LOVE it! And Aurora went from being this really naive typical princess to a strong and independent warrior and it was amazing!
The plot was a little slow towards the middle, and I felt like it was a little bit of a cliché "quest" fantasy type of novel, which I thought was a little boring, and I feel like some of the middle parts could've been cut out since this book was so long. I don't think it really needed to be 440 pages.
Overall I really liked it, though because I was a little bored in the middle I think I like the Aladdin retelling a little better, even though I gave them both 4 stars. I almost gave this one 3 stars, but I'm glad I didn't because I loved the ending and there was a lot of unexpected feminism and mental health rep that I was pleasantly surprised with, especially because it was fantasy! 😄
I LOVE that the author portrayed Aurora as having depression because it went along with the nature of the curse so well and it made her character have so much more depth, and there is a scene where she is explaining it to Phillip and it's just so realistic and impactful! I have never been diagnosed with depression, but I have been diagnosed with anxiety, and I suspect that I might have depression also because the way the author was describing Aurora's depression is exactly they way I have felt sometimes, and I have heard that depression sometimes goes hand in hand with anxiety, so even though I don't officially know if I have depression, in my own opinion of someone who deals with mental health this book did a great job with representing mental health with describing all the things Aurora was feeling and also Phillip's reaction to it. (So if you have depression and your experience is different, that's okay, this is just my opinion. I'm not trying to say I know more than you do.)
I also love that the author found a way to kind of debunk the whole "love at first sight" trope. Because Phillip and Aurora are in the dreamworld together, she gets a little more time to actually get to him, and he gets to know her as more than "the pretty peasant girl he met in the woods." Also, I love that it suggests Aurora's parents might've sent her away because they would've rather had a son, and Aurora having to deal with her hurt by that and everyone thinking she is this helpless little naive princess who can't amount to anything, and then learning how to find herself and rise above all of that and prove them wrong! 😊
So, overall, this was a pretty awesome book, and if you like mental health rep in fantasy, retellings, Disney, books about strange other dimensions, feminism, or fairytales, this is definitely a book for you! 😄
Have you read this book? Did you read it with me in my book club? What did you think? Have you read any other retellings? What are some of your favorites? Chat with me! 😀
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