Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: Thornspell by Helen Lowe

From the back cover of my Yearling paperback edition:
"Prince Sigismund has grown up hearing fantastical stories about enchantments and faie spells, basilisks and dragons, knights-errant and heroic quests. He'd love for them to be true - he's been sheltered in a country castle for most of his life and longs for adventure - but they're just stories. Or are they?
  From the day that a mysterious lady in a fine carriage speaks to him through the castle gates, Sigismund's world starts to shift. He begins to dream of a girl wrapped, trapped, in thorns. He dreams of a palace, utterly still, waiting. He dreams of a man in red armor, riding a red horse - and then suddenly that man arrives at the castle!
  Sigismund is about to learn that sometimes dreams are true. That the world is both more magical and more dangerous than he imagined. And that the heroic quest he imagined for himself as a boy...begins now." 

  First of all, what a great cover! The artist is Antonio Javier Caparo. I love good cover art.
  This debut novel by Helen Lowe is a clever re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty: it's the prince's story. I love this about the book. In the traditional stories, the prince, while playing a major role, gets very little page time, so his part seems almost incidental. I loved that that this story was all about the prince, and his training to fulfill his role.  I love the role the princess played in here as well, even though she wasn't in it a lot. (I can't say too much without spoiling it for you.) The premise of the story is very creative, and the story has depth and complexity; I love the plot. Her characters are well done, and in the end I was sorry to say goodbye to them.
  Having said that, it was sometimes hard for me to stay focused on the story. It took a long time to get it finished because I kept putting it down. It dragged in quite a few places with too much wordiness; weighed down by too much description. Despite this, I was definitely interested enough in the story that I didn't want to give up on it, and I'm glad I didn't. I will be reading her next book with enthusiasm.

1 comment:

  1. I generally enjoy the retelling of fairy tales. I'll look into this one!