Once Upon a Dream
by Braswell, Liz

What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

It should be simple-a dragon defeated, a slumbering princess in a castle, a prince poised to wake her. But when the prince falls asleep as his lips touch the fair maiden's, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

With a desperate fairy's last curse controlling her mind, Princess Aurora must escape from a different castle of thorns and navigate a dangerously magical landscape-created from her very own dreams. Aurora isn't alone-a charming prince is eager to join her quest, and old friends offer their help. But as Maleficent's agents follow her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are and, moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

After the sort of introverted childhood you would expect from a writer, Liz earned a degree in Egyptology at Brown University and then promptly spent the next ten years producing video games. Finally she caved into fate and wrote Snow and Rx under the name Tracy Lynn, followed by The Nine Lives of Chloe King series under her real name, because by then the assassins hunting her were all dead. She also wrote A Whole New World, the first book in the new A Twisted Tale series. She lives in Brooklyn with a husband, two children, a cat, a part-time dog, three fish and five coffee trees she insists will start producing beans any day. You can email her at me@lizbraswell.com or tweet @LizBraswell.

In a new take on Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Prince Phillip cuts down the dragon Maleficent to rescue slumbering princess Aurora Rose-only the dragon isn't dead, and Maleficent has transferred her essence into Aurora's dreams. If she can control the princess until one minute past her sixteenth birthday, Maleficent can kill the girl and live on in her body. But what if Aurora realizes it's a dream and awakens? This entry in the Twisted Tale series quickly diverts from the original tale, shifting the premise so that while outwardly the castle slumbers, fighting rages inside Aurora's dreams as Maleficent spills blood to maintain a magical hold on life. Braswell presents a compelling and imaginative alternative story with references to the movie threaded throughout and action sequences that demand attention. For edgier retellings, send readers to Marissa Meyer, Gail Carson Levine, and Emma Donoghue. Despite a rather weak feminist flavor, this version is a cut above the norm. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

What if Disney's Sleeping Beauty never woke up? Princess Aurora endures endless days of useless boredom in the surreal, post-apocalyptic confines of Thorn Castle, whose shellshocked inhabitants survive only due to gracious Queen Maleficent's powers. Slowly the princess realizes that she is trapped within her own dreams, an alternate reality horribly twisted by the evil fairy after her dragon form wasn't completely slain. Familiar characters from the film (and some intriguing new ones) help Aurora in her struggles to awaken and save her kingdom, but her greatest enemy is her own overwhelming despair. Greatly improving upon A Whole New World (2015), the first in the Disney-authorized series, this story starts after the movie's end, fleshing out its tissue-thin archetypes into likable (if fallible) personalities: the fairies become more otherworldly, the villain more magnificently evil, and the prince downright endearing in his unflagging cheerfulness and dogged devotion. Since nearly the entire narrative occurs in Aurora's subconscious, her character is the most deeply explored—in a daringly faithful depiction of chronic depression, with all the loneliness, listlessness, and self-loathing that entails. Hundreds of pages of Aurora's pain and passive futility may be even harder to read than the brief, grisly interludes of Maleficent's viciousness, but the dreary slog is redeemed once the princess finally reclaims the intelligence, courage, and compassion that are her true birthright. A surprising and clever twist on a beloved tale. (Fantasy. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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