Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen Review

"Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma’s stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma’s astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope."

Briar Rose is a twisted retelling of the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. It mixes the Holocaust with a fairy tale of little magic and some hope. It is full of dead bodies, who will forever sleep but never wake. And the princess? Well, she finds her own family. But the prince? That is a spoiler that I refused to tell. Sorry, guys. Spoilers are spoilers.

Briar Rose is an interesting story. It is a tad boring, because there are some moments of static noise (no plot movements, in other words). Rebecca is a bit old for a YA heroine, but she will do. For this story, it is indeed best if she is a bit older. Yes, she does have a prince, but that is not the point of this story. The story wholly and almost completely focuses on Gemma, who is Sleeping Beauty and also Rebecca's late grandmother. Rebecca, sworn to keep a promise, goes to look for Sleeping Beauty's past. She always knows the story, but she soon realizes it is indeed a "metaphor." And I, for one, agree that it is a perfect metaphor.

Gemma is the Sleeping Princess. She may be dead for the entire (or most of) Briar Rose, but she plays an important part. Everyone, from the Prince to Rebecca, learns a bit more about death, sadness, and most important of all, hope. (Spoiler Alert: The Prince is still alive, but he isn't the Prince you think he is).

Half of this book was told from the Prince's point of view. I admit that that part of the book is the most fickle and annoying part. Yes, there might be some homosexual parts, but honestly, I don't really care about that. I'm more worried about the lack of character. The Prince, from the fairy tales to the Disney movies, should always portray some heroistic traits. Instead, he is rather dull and undeniably boring. There is just something wrong with his voice.

Overall, I think the story could had been more exciting, but it isn't as interesting as it could had been. Oh, and I also hate how there isn't enough of defiance. I mean, seriously? If there are people fighting against the Nazis in their territory, I expect a little more defiance, but I guess the war might had been too much for most people.

Rating: Two out of Five

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