Winter Book Shelf – The Princess Game
Title: The Princess Game: A Reimagining of Sleeping Beauty
Author: Melanie Cellier
Series: The Four Kingdoms
Tags: Young Adult, Fairy Tale
Reflections: I don’t usually like to read books out of order. I make a point of starting series with book one. This not always the best method, but one that I am a stickler for following. Except in this instance. Belonging to the Four Kingdoms series this was book 4 and I have not read the others. Though it does read comfortably as a stand alone novel.
The Princess Game was a cute re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty. It was safe and light but I rather liked it. I am a sucker for hidden identities. Particularly when a person pretends to be one thing during the day and something else at night. Not surprisingly I am a huge fan of Zorro. And there were elements of that dual identity throughout the book.
While I appreciate the idea of making Sleeping Beauty more of an active participant in her life, I did find the curse a little on the weak side. Granted, this was because of some interference of various fairy godmothers (to be discussed later). Instead of death or sleep, the princess is cursed to have her gifted intelligence put to sleep – in effect becoming an idiot. Only, through some more magical manipulations, Sleeping Beauty is forced to have the appearance of an idiot, while she keeps her fierce intelligence to herself.
I appreciate that the book celebrates the importance of intelligence, but overall this a very low impact curse. Mostly it means that when seen by others who know who she is, our heroic princess must play the part of flighty airhead. This seemed to take the route of keeping her conversation on topics of clothes or in a pinch anything that is not related to the current topic of discourse. Cute, but not high stakes.
My other complaint comes in the form of an over abundance of fairy godmothers. It seems at times the characters are tripping over these gift-giving magical creatures. It feels a bit like a cheat to have everything solved so easily by someone else. Though, this re-imagining did try to stay rather close to the Disney version, complete with the requirement of True-Love’s Kiss. Like with many other stories, there was a lack of subtlety that would have made the simple, familiar plot a little more intriguing.
Still, with a target audience of young adults, there is nothing offensive in the story. And I did like the princess turn spy, so overall I would give this a 3 out of 5.