- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Roc (April 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 045146012X
- ISBN-13: 978-0451460127
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,616,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Once Upon a Summer Day Hardcover – April 5, 2005
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*Starred Review* Romantics, rejoice! McKiernan's retelling of Sleeping Beauty is the way it should have been done the first time around. Prince Borel, lord of the Winterwood, falls asleep one warm summer afternoon and dreams of a beautiful, golden-haired maid in distress, trapped within a stone turret. Her only words to Borel are, "Please--help me!" Borel awakens, uncertain whether he has had a vision or only a dream. But the maid's terrified plea is enough to give him pause, and after having the same dream again and again, Borel sets out to discover where she is being held. But before the happy ending, our hero, assisted by the loyal and brave Flic (a sprite) and steadfast Buzzer (a bumblebee), must encounter and overcome trolls, sorcerers, hideous things that go bump in the night, and the cunning king of Faery himself. The lines between good and evil are clear, and romance and chivalry and true love are alive and flourishing. McKiernan's magic invites readers to dive completely into the story, as children do, and conjures the same overwhelming wonder that children experience. A positively charming--and well-told--tale! Paula Luedtke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Dennis L. McKiernan is the author of many novels, most of them set in the world of Mithgar. He is one of the most prolific and enduring writers of fantasy today.
Top customer reviews
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I have read all of McKiernan's other works (save some short stories in publication), and find this compares well in quality, if not in scope, to his world of Mithgar. I look forward to the remaining books in this series.
This tale is wonderful- a beautiful mix of romance, adventure, chivalry, and fantasy. It is yet another epic fairy tale told by a bard himself.
Again, I highly recommend you read the foreword to his novels! He takes famous, legendary fairy tales and expands upon them, going from a mere few pages to a full book. I claim that Dennis McKiernan himself is a bard and I would take the opportunity any day to sit in a great hall and listen to his stories.
While napping at Summerwood Manor, Borel has a dream about a young woman in a tower, surrounded by knives and blindfolded. Searching for an answer to who she is and what trouble she is in, he goes to the seemingly abandoned cottage of an evil witch. By reading her diary, he manages to find out that she is Chelle (Michelle), the daughter of his father's old pal.
Accompanied by a sassy Sprite, Flic, and his bumblebee Buzzer, Borel sets off across Faery to find Chelle and set her free. Every night he encounters her in his dreams, without her knowledge that it's only a dream, and tries to figure out where she is and who has taken her captive. To learn where she is, Borel will deal with tricky faerie kings and spectral rider, and even the Fates. But he has only one month to find Chelle, and not many clues to go on...
After the sugary heroine of "Once Upon A Winter's Night," the down-to-earth Borel is a relief. He was one of the more interesting minor characters of that first book, and it's nice to see him getting his own book. This time around, it's not initially as obvious what fairy tale McKiernan is retelling, and he manages to keep up the suspense about the daggers, squeaking and other odd clues that come together at the finale.
With only a month to deal with the wicked witch and damsel in distress, the plot goes quite fast, and has some genuinely creepy scenes, such as when Borel is captured by trolls. The book does sag somewhat in the middle, and also retreads old ground by having Borel deal with each of the rather pompous Fates in turn -- something Camille did in the previous book.
However, McKiernan's writing has improved a great deal. The plot is sparer and leaner, with virtually no side trips or red herrings. So is his writing; he throws in a few discussions about love and sex, but not enough to sabotage the suspense. And he reveals quite a few little tidbits about the forthcoming Great Epic Struggle against The Evil Force, leaving some enormous plot threads dangling at the end. (Not to mention name-dropping some future villains for our heroes to fight)
While it has some flaws, "Once Upon A Summer Day" is a tighter, faster read than its predecessor. Here's hoping that the rest of the series follows this trend.
Most recent customer reviews
There's no way around it. The writing is pretentious and lacks any kind of grit, substance, or texture.Read more
My concerns?...let me explain