To Read or Not to Read?

Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell

Note: I received a free ARC of Once Upon a Dream from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard about the ‘A Twisted Tale’ series I couldn’t wait to read it and immediately requested it from NetGalley. The gist of the series is that they’r retellings of Disney fairy tales, starting out with the traditional tale and then changing one thing so that the rest of the story goes different.

The first book was a disappointment and yet I still ordered Once Upon a Dream in hopes that it would be an improvement and in a way it was but there were still quite a few issues.

Once Upon a Dream is based on Sleeping Beauty with the twist of “what if Sleeping Beauty never actually woke up?”

Only it’s not that simple.

When the book opens we see the Prince giving the Princess her kiss only, instead of her waking up, he falls asleep. And then we’re thrown into a world where Aurora is stuck in the castle while her “aunt Maleficient” rules. Aurora’s parents were evil and practically destroyed the world and Maleficient is keeping them safe.

Only that’s not true at all. That world is a dream world, invented by Maleficent though Aurora does have some control. A control which grows over the course of the novel.

Aurora was actually a pretty annoying character but I personally thought that was understandable. She’d literally had her mind invaded by Maleficient (not that she knew that at first) and a whole fake world fashioned for her, a fake world where she thought her parents were evil and that she was an idiot.

And then once she realized what was going on and started to get her memories back she realized that her real life hadn’t exactly been a picnic either. Let’s think about the basis of Sleeping Beauty…a baby is sent away to be raised by fairies who know nothing about raising children so they try their best. And Aurora, even though she’s free of living like a princess in a castle is still very sheltered, never seeing anyone but the animals, the fairies, and, eventually, Prince Phillip. She was not raised like a princess. Then she’s dragged to a castle full of strangers where she’s told she’s a princess and her wedding is set for the next day. Of course she’s going to feel betrayed and angry and depressed. I think that’s where a lot of the character’s angst was coming from. It was understandable that she had her moments of self-doubt and her mental breakdowns.

Now, the main problem I found was in the dialogue. There was so much that was cheesy or the tone didn’t fit the scene but it wasn’t the worst I’d ever read though I do hope the author is able to improve upon that in the next book in the series. (Book three is based on Beauty and the Beast which is my all time favorite Disney story! And the premise looks awesome too!)

So all in all Once Upon a Dream was an interesting enough book, and was a vast improvement over the first in the series.


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