The animated Sleeping Beauty movie by Walt Disney has always been a movie I never had a strong opinion of either way. After reading the book Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell I have more of an appreciation for the movie. This book takes place entirely while Sleeping Beauty is under the sleeping curse. It also changes the ending of the movie to have a more dark and detailed ending. For this review I am calling Sleeping Beauty, Aurora and the Prince, Phillip because the book refers to them this way.
Usually, I like my dream sequences to be short and to the point. Ninety five percent of this book is in a dream and does it extremely well. The story feels like a dream and when it doesn’t feel like a dream there is a good explanation why. For the first half of the novel I felt like I was reading a story that could fit into an episode of Star Trek. The story line feels very science fiction and yet the author made it work with fantasy elements. The other great thing about the book is both Aurora and Phillip feel like actual human beings. Their character development is far better than the original movie. I feel like I know them better because of this book.
Unfortunately, no book can be perfect. The last fifteen pages make Aurora into a warmonger. She has defeated the villain of the story and wants more. I felt that turning Aurora into a vengeful warmonger warrants more attention. If there was a sequel book this would be an interesting topic to discuss. However, knowing this is a one and done story I think that there could have been a better way to end it.
Once Upon a Dream is a great read until the ending. While I don’t like the ending, I encourage anyone who is fan of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty to read this book. Matthew J. Croutch