From School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-In this imaginative retelling, the jealous, overlooked fairy who curses Sleeping Beauty is recast as a sickly, bookish teenager. Thirteen-year-old Gorse belongs to the Shouting Fey, a clan of mischievous fairies with powerful voices. In a subversive departure from the original tale in which benevolent fairies bestow gifts at the infant's christening, Yolen portrays the relationship between the royal family and the Shouting Fey as downright feudal. Tied to their land by an ancient oath, the Fey are compelled to perform spells at the whim of their capricious monarchs. On the day of the christening, Gorse rushes to the palace only to fall down a hole into a cave where she discovers two fey princes who have been banished for years, as well as revelations about her family's past. The frequent references to fairy lore are occasionally overwhelming; however, Yolen has crafted an intricate world full of well-developed characters. The incantations that the fey often invoke ("Blow and sow/This fertile ground/Until the knot/Be all unwound") add a lyrical quality to the elegant prose. Readers who typically prefer fairy-tale retellings, such as those by Donna Jo Napoli or Robin McKinley, may be put off because the plot largely revolves around Gorse's escape from the cave rather than Sleeping Beauty herself, but fans of more unconventional fantasy adaptations, such as Gregory Maguire's Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995), will enjoy seeing an antagonist receive a rich, compelling backstory.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journalα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Yolen follows up Snow in Summer (2011), an Appalachian retelling of Snow White, with this fey reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. It is based on a short story written by Yolen about Gorse, the thirteenth child of an elf and a Shouting Fey. The Shouters are a family of fairies bound to an unscrupulous king who can force them to grant him any wish—failure to do so will result in death via bursting into a thousand stars. Gorse is young, susceptible to fever, and accident-prone, and a moment of haste lands her in a trap with far-reaching ramifications. Readers interested in the Sleeping Beauty angle will have to be patient while Gorse’s story unfolds. She spends much of the book trying to escape from an enchanted underground prison, learning to harness her own magic, discovering the wits at her disposal, and befriending a fellow fey trapped by an oath of his own. Still, the book has a marvelous cadence that creates a world both ancient yet familiar and lends itself well to reading aloud. Fans of fairy tale adaptations will enjoy this well-imagined retelling. Grades 5-8. --Kara Dean