My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was exactly what I needed. I have a soft spot for “toaster-oven romances” and this was such a feel-good story. Minimal drama other than the internal type.
I liked the characters a lot. They had real personal conflicts that were relatable without it being too self-deprecating. They were humorous in all the right places, passionate and insecure. I felt like each character individually stayed true to their established personalities very well.
Full Review with Spoilers
I went into this book with high expectations. A sapphic retelling of a classic fairytale is something I will always jump on. I was extremely happy to see that this book delivered and then some. The entire story is told from the perspective of Alyce, the traditional villain of Sleeping Beauty. The books acts as much like an origin story as much as it is a retelling.
Alyce is a fantastic character. She is told she is essentially evil and dark her whole life, that she is something other. It was heartbreaking to see how she deals with this her whole life and as much as she tries not to be that person, it definitely shaped who she is. She does what is essentially considered bad things because it is what is expected of her and what she is brought up to believe is the only thing she can do. Aurora is also a great main character. She is a princess and at first glance Alyce’s total opposite. The relationship that builds between them through the book is so well done. It was great to see them connect over their general dislike of everyone around them then it progress to Alyce trying to help her break the curse that will kill her when she turns 21. I loved seeing Alyce’s emotion progress and escalate even if she could quite see it for what it is.
There was a very interesting magic, social structure, and history developed in this book. I especially loved how the decline in ruling from a Queendom to a Kingdom where the queens have essentially given all their power to her husband over time really hinted at the same type of direction the story was going to take. The author did a great job placing these hints and connecting everything in a smooth flow that never felt like an information overload to the reader.
The storyline flowed so very well. There was a fantastic mix of emotional drama, angst and the sweeter buildup on the romance side. The romance was definitely not the focus of the story, though it was very much there. It really focus on Alyce’s build up to becoming a villain. And it was such a ride! Once Alyce crosses that line into actually killing people I have no idea what I should feel. Up to that point we get to see everything that has just been stacking against her and in a way we really see the justification for her actions. I ended the book completely blown away by the turn of events. We see Alyce exactly how we expect, guarding a sleeping princess against a kingdom that hates her.
This was a great retelling that gives the reader a new way of looking at a classic and very well known fairytale. Good story telling and great character development make this an extremely enjoyable read and one you won’t want to put down.
The characters in this book are incredibly relatable. This really was the main draw with the story. Denny was very down to earth. Her self confidence and fear of being hurt were the major conflicts in the story. I felt it stood out more than Eliza’s coming to terms with her sexuality. Denny feels a lot like someone I would personally know and that helped me get really attached to her character. Eliza was also a great character, just from the other end of things. She doesn’t have the same insecurities that Denny does. Her conflict through the book is coming to terms with her newly discovered sexuality. This is also such a relatable character arc.
The side characters were also well written and really added to the story. Denny’s sister and niece were cute and I was genuinely happy to see her sister also get a happy ending. Her niece was adorable and I have my hopes there will be a story of her after she gets older. Eliza’s best friend was also fantastic and seemed to fit so well with Eliza’s character.
I loved how very different the both of these main characters are in terms of their personalities. They mesh together well and keep the story flowing well. It was comical in all the right places. The entire concept of accidentally texting a stranger, and for dating advice, is already amusing and it was handled so well. It felt believable and played out in a way that made sense. There was an ever so slight cheesiness to it, but nothing I wouldn’t expect from a romance novel. The build up was handled nicely. I enjoyed that light amount of frustration I had for both characters when neither of them were willing to actually open up about their feelings at first.
This was a really cute story with minimal drama. It was refreshing and a really great feel good experience. Highly recommend for any romance fan.