Sleeping Beauty, Vampire SlayerMaureen McGowan
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.
Ashley and I were offered 2 books from the Twisted Tales series during Fairy Tale Fortnight, and I took on Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer because we didn't really seem to have any Sleeping Beauty Tales. (You can read Ashley's review of Cinderella, Ninja Warrior on her blog). My reaction to it was a bit mixed; in some ways I liked it more than I expected to, and in some ways I was let down.
First, it wasn't what I expected. I went into this thinking it was going to be this sort of fairy tale/Buffy mash-up, and I was expecting a kick-ass chick and some creepy Big Baddies. What I got was actually quite a bit different. It's more a tale of intolerance and misunderstandings, and I found myself rooting for the vampires nearly the whole book, and wishing that Sleeping Beauty (aka Lucette) would just wake up. (no pun intended.) I found the premise and set up really interesting, and loved the twist on the fairy's curse/gift, which set up this whole world that, though maybe a little shallow and not fully realized, was interesting and different from what I was expecting. Things changed a little at the end and I started finding the vampires (and the whole scenario) rather sillier than I cared for, but for much of the book, I sort of liked the misunderstood, misrepresented underdog thing the vampires had going on.
Another thing I wasn't expecting (which also worked, but somehow also didn't...) was that there are elements of Choose Your Own Adventure in this. For real. I don't know about you, but I went through, I think, every CYOA my library had to offer. I was OBSESSED with them. So there was a part of me that did this delighted little squeal when I first flipped through the book and saw that I got to decide what was going to happen omg yay. There was a definite nostalgic feel to using CYOA in the book that appealed to my inner child. The weird thing, though, was that I found myself choosing the path that I thought most fitted with Lucette's character, rather than the path I actually wanted to take. I've apparently lost my CYOAdventurous spirit somewhere along the years. I did still keep my finger on the page with the choices, and flip back and forth until I'd made up my mind that, yes, this is where I wanted to go. Just like the good ole days, I could never choose just one path...
You have to take this for what it is. It's a fun, light, ultimately silly approach to the whole story (from all sides - as a vamp-slaying romp, a retold fairy tale, a CYOA, etc). There are some silly gags that actually made me lol on occasion ( like when 1 vampire laments that the Vamp Queen has cracked down on handing out bloodstamps, so food was hard to come by. Random, silly, up my alley). I think, if you go into it knowing that and looking for that, it will fulfill. And for awhile, for me, it did fulfill. What killed it for me was the ending. It did not go where I wanted it to go, and though usually I can say, well, I can see why the author made that decision, and I can accept it, in this case, I just can't. I wanted it to end a certain way, and I wanted to see more of a certain character, and I felt cheated. It's probably just the newly-awoken spoiled child in me who is used to choosing her endings until she gets the one she wants, but I was just really let down that things didn't go my way. It's ridiculous, but it's true.
In the end, though, there are worse ways to waste an afternoon at the beach. It may be a bit shallow and forgettable, but it's a fun way to kill some time and keep in touch with your inner silly kid, which I think every self respecting adult should do...
Make sure to check out my interview with author Maureen McGowan and a giveaway of Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer.
Also, make sure to hop over to Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing for Ashley's review of another Twisted Tale, Cinderella: Ninja Warrior.