Beauty Sleep
Cameron Dokey

Morality: B+
Writing: B-

Despite its modern-sounding title, this book is a fairly straightforward retelling of the legend of Sleeping Beauty — with enough twists thrown in to keep the story interesting. Princess Aurore is cursed at her christening by a spiteful fairy, then gifted by her godmother, whose spell takes the edge off the curse. For all of her childhood and young adulthood, the blessing and the curse fight inside Aurore, as she struggles to embody her destiny.

Dokey is a good writer, and her prose here is fairly satisfactory. She has a tendency towards poetical prose, which I happen to enjoy. However, I was a bit disappointed with the occasional modern tone to the narration; it didn’t mesh, either with the traditional fairy-tale setting or with Dokey’s otherwise traditionally poetic style of writing. It felt almost as if the author wanted to write a more modern take on the story, but found herself inexorably drawn towards a more traditional style. The book also suffered from some all-too-typical clichés regarding self-discovery and destiny. Further, the portrayal of magic, rooted as it is in the self-discovery cliché, rang hollow (not to mention illogical) — magic, apparently, makes you ‘more of who you really are’; it is a sort of intensifier of oneself. (Never mind that much of the magic in the story has nothing to do with intensifying one’s personality, hence the illogic.) In spite of these flaws, though, the book was an enjoyable read. I appreciated the changes Dokey made in order to make the story her own, which, though not entirely unpredictable, were interesting enough to keep me reading. The characters well also well-drawn — or, at least, as well drawn as one can expect from a book that’s under 200 pages long.

The book’s themes alternate between the cheesy find-your-destiny shtick (the main characters have a gift for experiencing the deep and reliable conviction that ‘I was meant to do this random action’, though how exactly they manage this is never really explained) and a truly effective emphasis on courage and true love. I appreciated these latter themes much more than the former.

Posted by Sasha | November 5, 2006

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