Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Once Upon A Dream ~ Briar Rose by Jana Oliver Review

Briar Rose
By Jana Oliver

Rating: 4.3 

'Over the years this curse will remain vigilant, growing in  strength, changing course as needed. 

Then, when the time is right, it will fulfill its calling. Sate its near-human desire for  revenge.  

No mercy. No second chances. Only more tears to feed  the bitterness.'

A riveting re-telling of Sleeping Beauty, Jana Oliver's Briar Rose gives the classic fairytale a modern twist like never before.

Fairytale re-tellings are tricky things. Mainly because, honestly, everyone knows these fairytales. We've been read them as children, in order to ignite our little imaginations or to send us off to sleep with minimal bribing involved.

And although there are hundreds of fairytales, from different cultures and different times, there are a set of classics. Sleeping Beauty, being one of them.

The thing with classics, though, that makes re-tellings difficult is that the re-telling should bring to mind the fairytale it has been inspired by without copying it.

Often, this doesn't happen. What does happen is that we see the main elements of the fairytale re-ordered and served back to us with a different topping to 'spice things up.'

Briar Rose, however, ticks all the boxes.

This book manages to include several Sleeping Beauty elements, whilst flawlessly combining a bunch of the author's own concepts to create an engaging tale.

Parts of it reminded me of Jodi Picoult's Between The Lines. A modern day protagonist, who longs for romance and reads far too many fairytales, is sucked into a fairytale and discovers it all isn't sunshine, rainbows and My Little Ponies.

I will wasn't the basic structure of the story that won me over. It was pretty obvious where the story was headed, who would end up with who, etc.

But what made the story intriguing was:
- Its characters
- Its concepts
- Its humor

Jana Oliver has a knack for creating beautifully flawed characters. None of them is perfect - from our female protagonist with her slightly-but-not-really adorable vain streak and horrible taste in guys, to a line of guys who are either too charming, too hot-and-cold, or too self-absorbed.

Each character is three-dimensional. All have flaws, and most have a few redeeming qualities thrown in so that you don't have to hate every character you meet!

The concepts were amazing. The whole metal thing, with the creatures and the magic...I was hooked. Some voodoo magic + creatures with magic dust + some A.G. Howard's Splintered-like horror (featuring a bunch of metal caterpillar creatures in a pit that would have perfectly suited a gothic, darker Wonderland) = a whole lot of awesome.

And the humor. Oh the humor!

I like how it was a refreshing mix of everyday comedy and YA humor. The jokes aren't funny outright, but are delivered with a subtle hand that makes them all the more humorous.

So if you love fairytales & you're looking for a badass re-telling, Briar Rose is for you!

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