In this series, a force of magic called the Tradition forces people into the stereotypes of famous stories. Sometimes things work out well, the sleeping spell that was put on a princess is broken by a prince, the girl with the mean stepmother who forces her to be a slave is rescued by true love, and so on. But often the Tradition doesn’t get things right. Princes are too old or too young, and sometimes they don’t desire princesses at all… It is the Fairy Godmother’s job to sort things out, protect her kingdom, and ensure that everyone lives Happily Ever After.
Mercedes Lackey’s The Sleeping Beauty is an easy adult read. The plots are simplistic and highly predictable, the obvious reason being the Tradition. Most everyone who reads these stories likely knows all the tales the Tradition would draw from, making the sequence of plots easy to detect. Good and evil characters are also easy to determine. I don’t have a fault with the predictability of these books; it’s hard for them not to be predictable when they are pulling from such familiar material.
What I do have a problem with are two plot points I did not think were explored enough. The first is the relationship between Sigmund and Rose. The buildup to falling in love was really well done, but there is no declaration of love…ever! They each realize that they love each other separately. There is never a declaration to each other, or a proposal of marriage…just at the end we learn that they have married and are now King and Queen. This is a LUNA book. It is a fantasy ROMANCE. And we don’t get but one good kiss and separate realizations of love before they are married?! We do see a mention that they are enjoying each other’s…company…at the end, but that is it.
The other plot point that irritated me was that the evil prince’s motivation was unclear. He obviously wanted to rule the kingdom, but why? That why was unclear. What is his backstory? What drove him to decide to take over this kingdom? How did he get to be an evil sorcerer? What exactly is his connection to the Huntsman? None of these questions are answered.
What makes this book worth the read if it is predictable? The characters. The women in this series are strong, clever, and passionate. The men who win their hearts are strong, compassionate, and love fiercely. They are fabulous blend of love, adventure, and magic. In this book especially, I loved Princess Rosemund. She uses her head in tough situations, and is practical and clever.
Although I did really enjoy this book, (as I have all the rest in the series) those two unfinished plot points cost the score one star. So this book gets 4 stars. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes simplistic fantasy romance. I would, however, start with book one which is The Fairy Godmother. It is a five star novel and the perfect introduction to the world of the Five Hundred Kingdoms.
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