Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Curse of the Thirteenth Fey - Review
Author: Jane Yolen
A reimagining of Sleeping Beauty from a master storyteller
Gorse is the thirteenth and youngest in a family of fairies tied to the evil king's land and made to do his bidding. Because of an oath made to the king's great-great-ever-so-many-times-great-grandfather, if they try to leave or disobey the royals, they will burst into a thousand stars.
When accident-prone Gorse falls ill just as the family is bid to bless the new princess, a fairytale starts to unfold. Sick as she is, Gorse races to the castle with the last piece of magic the family has left--a piece of the Thread of Life. But that is when accident, mayhem, and magic combine to drive Gorse's story into the unthinkable, threatening the baby, the kingdom, and all.
With her trademark depth, grace, and humor, Jane Yolen tells readers the "true" story of the fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty.
The boss lady and I are planning on adding new titles to our fairy tale retellings collection. In preparation, we are reading a bunch of them. We picked based on our personal favorite fairy tales: for me, that is Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and the Wild Swans. Curse of the Thirteenth Fey is one of the ones I read, and I really thought it was cute!
It is a retelling of sorts about Sleeping Beauty, but from the perspective of the fairy who (accidentally) cursed the princess. Gorse is the thirteenth born fey in her family, and when she was born she was thought to be the One, who would have special powers beyond the rest of her family and rescue them from a mysterious prophecy. Gorse however, is clumsy and often ill.
Gorse and her family are sworn to do the bidding of the royal family that rules their lands. If they do not, the forsworn fey will burst into a thousand stars. When the Queen gives birth to the Princess, Gorse and her family are all summoned to the palace, where they are bid to gift the Princess with blessings and beauty. Gorse falls ill, and her family leave her behind, although this could cause their demise, as all the fey would not be present. Gorse wakes up and grabs the last bit of her family's magic, a spindle and thread that measures out one's life. She races down the forbidden path, and falls deep into a hole.
This is where the adventure begins: in the hole there is a whole other world, with an arrogant prince, his loyal servant and cousin, and cheerful trolls, called McGargles. All are trapped in this cavern, and are relying on Gorse to get them out.
Not to give anything away, but Gorse succeeds. Kind of. Regardless, she finally is able to get to the palace, where she bestows the spindle and thread upon the princess, to find that the thread has broken - instead of giving the princess a long life, instead Gorse gives her a short life, of 15 years. Gorse's mother steps in to fix this, and voila - the Sleeping Beauty tale.
I thought this story was cute, although not really about Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty was just a small tiny part of the story, and not from the point of view at all. I still really liked the story, and will probably order it for our library.