From USA Today bestselling author Stacey O’Neale comes a standalone YA fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

The day has come for sixteen-year-old Aurora to receive her witch mark. She should be thrilled. But unlike the rest of her coven, a centuries-old family curse has already decided her fate; the cost of her new power is her life.

After the ceremony, her grandmother offers her hope: Aurora can save herself and prevent her coven from dying by awakening a sleeping prince with the power to break her curse. Unfortunately, she must travel through the forbidden Shadowlands to reach him.

The enchanted forest is filled with magical creatures—friends and foes—including the mysterious son of a powerful wolf pack leader. Can she find the prince in time, and if she succeeds, will he choose to help despite having been placed under the sleeping spell?

My Review

Get your hands on this beautiful gender-bender sleeping beauty standalone retelling!!!

Aurora is prepared to receive the mark of a bloodwitch on her 16th birthday, a curse that has plagued her family for generations. Bloodwitches are expected to sacrifice themselves as their blood is the only cure that helps the cursed coven lands to survive. But Aurora is not ready to give up her life and she sets off on a journey with her best friend, Hazel, to find the sleeping prince in the castle beyond the Shadowlands to break the curse once and for all.

First off, the cover is absolutely stunning! I love how the different aspects of the fairy tale was slotted into the narrative, you could tell it was a sleeping beauty retelling but the author did give it a fresh twist and it held a lot of unique aspects!

One of my favourite things about Aurora was her friendship with Hazel. The two girls really looked out for each other and Aurora was always extremely protective of Hazel and yet never underestimated her. There was a good balance of the pair in the adventure and the author let both girls shine respectively as they moved through the quest.

As a quest narrative I think some descriptions could have been slightly more fleshed out, especially the Shadowlands so we could really feel the magic and fear that the forest was supposed to be reputed for.

Other than that, the author does a spectacular job at world building and it’s kept compact to fit the standalone novel. The world is really well done so there’s definitely room to expand and explore!

A fast paced and magical retelling! I loved this take on Aurora, she’s really at the centre of her story and became her own saviour!

About The Author

USA Today Bestselling YA Fantasy Author, Stacey O’Neale, lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, podcasting, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a senior publicist for Entangled Publishing. Stacey writes young adult fantasy and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

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