Released at the end of April, Alex Flinn has written a new fairy tale retelling, A Kiss in Time, a modernized version of Sleeping Beauty. Her previous novel, Beastly, was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and will be a feature film released next summer. (Have I mentioned the abundance of fairy tale films arriving in 2010? Have to do that soon!)
At first, one doesn’t realize that this novel will be modern day since the opening chapters present us with Talia, the cursed princess of Euphrasia. Talia (her name hearkens back to the Italian Sleeping Beauty: The Sun, Moon, and Talia), has been sheltered and never left alone for fear that she will either die or fall into a long sleep, taking her entire kingdom with her, if she touches a spindle. Just before her 16th birthday, the last day of the curse, she is tricked by the wicked fairy Malvolia into touching a spindle. The entire kingdom, not far from Belgium apparently, disappears from world view while it sleeps along with her.
Three hundred years pass until Jack is traveling around Europe, bored and somewhat rebellious. He and his best friend discover the sleeping Talia. Jack is compelled by her beauty and ends up kissing her, breaking the curse and awakening the entire forgot kingdom.
Of course, the happily ever after doesn’t arrive then. He discovers that Talia is rather spoiled and demanding. He isn’t too excited about finding true love either, since he’s not very enamored with his own life or situation either. Still, Talia and Jack are compelled to be together for various reasons despite all their conflicts. Many adventures ensue as they learn and grow-up and manage to build a relationship along the way. A 300 year age difference is rather daunting and they are faced with the extra burden of Euphrasia needing to learn how to function in the 21st century.
The novel isn’t perfect and borders on the too sweet at times despite the somewhat caustic hero and heroine. However, the elements that made it not quite perfect for me just might endear it to its young adult audience looking for fun fairy tale escapism. It is a fun romp and a fine new interpretation of the classic tale, quick to read, and entertaining.
I’ll admit to having flashbacks to my favorite current day setting Sleeping Beauty, Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, although this is a vastly different book aimed at a younger audience. Who can forget the brilliance of Baba Yaga’s house on chicken legs being a commercial airplane in Card’s version? If you enjoy this one, add Enchantment to your reading or re-reading list. I did. It's already waiting for me on my Kindle. :)