12th September 2013
Macmillan Children's Books
A dark and sexy reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale from the author of THE DEMON TRAPPERS.
For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She's stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won't let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who's spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She's tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she's actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can't do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she's met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.
Briar Rose felt like a bit of a disappointment to be, I won't lie. I've not read the whole of The Demon Trappers, but from what I had read of Jana Oliver's I had really liked, so I was looking forward to reading Briar Rose a lot. Sadly, it just didn't really work for me.
It isn't like it's a bad book or anything, it's just that it felt like it was bit confused and didn't really know what it was or what it wanted to be and I didn't really like the romance aspect (surprise, surprise) and it didn't really feel as much like a fairy tale retelling in the way that I would have liked it to be. I think that the blurb is wrong in calling it dark and sexy, because I don't personally feel like it was either of those things.
Briar Rose is like half YA Southern Gothic and half fantasy which is kind of why I was so looking forward to reading it! I love both of those genres so you'd think that you couldn't go wrong putting them together, but the two halves felt so different from each other, they just didn't gel, which was a huge shame. One the one hand, there was a lot of like dark magic and Georgia heat and spirits and curses, and the suddenly there's a fantasy village with and evil ruler who has like powers over metal and it was like reading 2 different books and I just wish it had stuck with either one or the other because the two different worlds just didn't mesh that well.
There was also this kind of forced family feud between Briar and Josh's (the two main characters) families, and also this kind of forced romance between the two of them and I wasn't really invested in either of them. If anything, it just got on my nerves. It probably would have been less annoying to me if I actually properly liked either of the characters. Not that I actively disliked either of them, but I did think that they were boring and I just wasn't really that bothered about them? I feel like I'm being really harsh now, but I was just really disappointed by Briar Rose.
I thought that the first half was really good. For the first 100 pages or so I was really into it, but as soon as Briar went into the dream world, I wasn't as into it and after that it was a bit of a push to finish it. I didn't really like the ending that much either. It felt like it was trying to hard to sum up all of it's plot threads, but it came across as being a bit jumbled and I would have preferred it if there had just been one main setting and all that.
I did like some of the side characters like Reena, Pat and Ruric, who added a bit of humour and ultimately made the book more interesting, and some aspects of the Sleeping Beauty in Briar's dream/curse/thing were unexpected and cool, and I really do hate to be so overwhelmingly negative about a book because I didn't hate it, but Briar Rose, for me, was so hit and miss and ultimately disappointing that I don't really know what else to say about it. Though I will say that if you still are interested in reading this, read some other more positive reviews as well. This is just my opinion and I don't want to come across as being mean.
*PS I promise that I will try harder to write more reviews but I'm still just falling into routine after starting college again and I've not been reading too much so just give me a few weeks. And I'll try and make them better and less mixed up and repetitive than this one. Thanks!