Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty was really good. I am not usually a HUGE Jane Yolen fan but this was an excellent novel. It was sleeping beauty from the “wicked” fairies point of view.
It really twisted the story of sleeping beauty, to the point where I am not sure this should have been actually called the true tale of sleeping beauty. I mean honestly that part of the tale was thrown in haphazardly and was prominent in maybe the last ten pages. I found it trivial to all the other wonderful great things this book had going for it.
1) Great writing
2) Great setting
3) Great and interesting characters
4) A huge loving magical quirky family
5) A new interesting take of elves and the fey
6) MAGIC! And you know the kind with explanations that actually make sense and has rules and all sorts of fun stuff to go along with it.
7) No love triangle
8) No insta-love
Gorse is the 13th daughter in a family of Shouting fey, which are winged large fairies with magic. Her father is an elf that likes books and she develops his love of learning. Gorse grows up getting sick a lot and magic makes her head hurt. When she is 13 she finds out that her family is tied to the land they live on under the rule of a once great human family who is now corrupted by power and greed. They are stuck living in the same place and not being able to leave because of an Oath her great great grandfather and his wife made many years passed. Because of this they have to do Biddings and other magic any time the royal family asks for it. If a fey breaks an Oath then they die, bursting into a thousand stars.
So…. The family gets Bid to come to a baby blessing, and here is where it ties in with the original tale of Sleeping Beauty. Gorse gets left behind and on her way to the blessing she falls into the trap of an Unseelie Fey prince who makes her swear an Oath to help him. The remainder of this book is about Gorse helping the mean Unseelie Prince and his cousin and rescuing them from their prison.
The book then jumps ahead to the baby’s 16th birthday and the sleeping spell. Gorse is now around 16 or 17 in Shouting Fey years and has fallen in love with a fey boy…Though honestly this isn’t that important, it’s mentioned simply in passing. Gorse finds out that after sleeping for one hundred years the king and his family will no longer be the rulers of the land which breaks her family’s Oath to them and will allow them to finally leave, if they want to. Happily Ever After.
I was very happy and content after reading this book. It was entertaining and I enjoyed myself. It felt a little bit more like middle grade fiction in some parts and Jane Yolen does have a tendency to ramble a bit on things that do not move the plot forward. However, as far as fairy tale retellings go this one was pretty awesome and certainly going in my to be kept pile.