Everyone is familiar with the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. In this novel, Robin McKinley adapts and expands the beloved story. McKinley’s fairy tale country is thick with magic, which must be dusted from the doorsteps and emptied from the kettles. On her christening day, Princess Briar Rose is snatched from the clutches of the wicked enchantress Pernicia by a young apprentice fairy. Rosie is then raised in obscurity in a remote farming village. She grows up without learning of her royal heritage and instead becomes a horse doctor and falls in love with the local blacksmith. When Rosie eventually confronts the spindle’s end she proves to be a resourceful and powerful opponent of the evil Pernicia.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
On the whole, this book was not well liked. Most found the plot simplistic and the characters one-dimensional. McKinley’s writing is also very unstructured, using liberal quantities of parentheses and asides to the reader. We enjoyed the unique world of magic created by the novel and the involvement of the animals throughout the plot. It was also refreshing to read a fairy tale about a brave, quick-witted heroine who doesn’t sit around waiting for her prince to come to the rescue.