Saturday, 14 May 2011

Book Review: Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer by Maureen McGowan

Title: Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer
Author: Maureen McGowan
Number of pages: 320 pages 
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books
Release Date: 1 April 2011
Series: Book #2 in the Twisted Tales series
Source: review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Book Depository

Grade: 3 stars

Novellus bonus!
Goodreads appetizer: 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.

My Thoughts: I discovered Maureen McGowan's Twisted Tales series a couple of weeks ago when I read Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, which I loved as you can see in my review.

Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is the second book in the series and as you can guess from the title this princess is a tough kickass vampire slayer!

As the queen, Lucette's mother has not invited the Vampire Queen to the presentation of her baby and has insulted her, as revenge the Vampire Queen curses the baby that following her 16th birthday should she prick her finger she will spend the days asleep and when she wakes after sundown everyone in the kingdom will be asleep and leave her all alone awake besides the roaming vampires.

Lucette's parents have their different methods to thwart the curse: the king banished everything with a thorn (so no roses in the kingdom), and Lucette has to wear protective gloves all the time, while her mother wants to give Lucette a normal enjoyable childhood and wants to prepare her to be able to fight vampires and defend herself should the curse take place and she be left all alone at night with the vampires.

Lucette is an adventurous, feisty, independent girl who wants to experience as much of the world as she can.

Just like Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is another choose your own adventure kind of book. At several points in the story you can decide what you would do were you in Lucette's place.

There are two heroes in Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer: there is Tristan the golden, irresistibly handsome vampire slayer who taught Lucette eveyrthing she knows about fighting, he is the boy Lucette has had her very first crush on; then there is Alex, a funny, charming kindhearted boy who is there for Lucette and helps her in her nightly exploits. And of course Lucette can only end up with one of them.

One of my complaints is that whatever you choose Lucette will end up with the same boy, so you can't choose whichever (Tristan or Alex) you prefer. Besides that I didn't like how the choice between them got resolved for quite a few reasons which I won't be able to expand here because then I would spoil the ending for you.

There are several details which greatly differ from the classic fairy tale or the Disney version:

- the princess (here called Lucette) lives with her parents in the castle until her 16th birthday, not in a little cottage in the forests

- unfortunately the fairy godmothers only make a short appearance at the beginning, at the time of the curse, and they neither develop a special relationship with Lucette nor make further appearance in the story (I sadly missed them, they were one of my favourite parts of the tale)

- the marriage of Lucette's parents is on very shaky legs and I applaud Maureen McGowan for exploring how a teenager experiences the rows and chilling atmosphere between her parents and also not assuming that all couple live happily ever after in fairy tales.

Somehow I couldn't connect with this story as much as I did with Cinderella: Ninja Warrior where I was rooting enthusiasticly for the characters. Here I found Lucette acting childish sometimes (which of course can be understood since she is only 16) and the way one of the romance lines developed/ended felt immature to me. I also had some characterisation problems with the heroes: the way Maureen McGowan tried to introduce some details to change the reader's favorable opinion of Alex and make the choice between the heroes seem more square felt forced to me.

Verdict:
Adventurous fairytale adventures where the heroines are very capable of saving themselves, but also get their handsome princes. Fast-paced fun stories, full of danger, adventure and romance.
I couldn't sum it up better. These are exciting fairy tales with modern, independent strong and feisty heroines who are the Buffys of classic fairy tales.

Though I much prefer the cover of Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (love the Buffy allusion!), I enjoyed Cinderella: Ninja Warrior much more and would recommend you start with that one.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Ending: 5/10
Writing: 7/10
Cover: 9/10

Maureen McGowan is on a book tour and she stops at Book Lovers Inc. today! Stop by to read her interview and for a chance to win her book!

Buy it:
The BookDepository

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