The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker
Released: May 2nd 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In this new stand-alone fairy tale, Princess Annie is the younger sister to Gwen, the princess destined to be Sleeping Beauty. When Gwennie pricks her finger and the whole castle falls asleep, only Annie is awake, and only Annie, blessed (or cursed?) with being impervious to magic, can venture out beyond the rose-covered hedge for help. She must find Gwen's true love to kiss her awake.
But who is her true love? The irritating Digby? The happy-go-lucky Prince Andreas, who is holding a contest to find his bride? The conniving Clarence, whose sinister motives couldn't possibly spell true love? Joined by one of her father's guards, Liam, who happened to be out of the castle when the sleeping spell struck, Annie travels through a fairy tale land populated with characters both familiar and new as she tries to fix her sister and her family . . . and perhaps even find a true love of her own. (from Goodreads)
The Wide-Awake Princess is a fun and light-hearted retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Princess Annie is the younger sister of Princess Gwendolyn, but unlike her sibling, she is immune to magic - both good and bad kinds. So while no pesky witches can turn her into a frog, she also doesn’t have the magical benefits of beauty and grace. But when Gwendolyn falls prey to a terrible curse by pricking her finger on a spindle, and sends everyone in the castle to sleep for a hundred years, it’s Annie’s job to find Gwen’s true love to kiss her and wake her up. But finding the right prince proves harder than it seems, so with help from a young guard Liam, Annie goes on quest to save her sister and her family, and realises that being immune to magic maybe isn’t so bad after all.
The Wide-Awake Princess was a very cute read and though aimed at a slightly younger audience, it is enjoyable for all ages. I never liked the fairy-tale of Sleeping Beauty because I thought Aurora was such a terrible character with no personality or conviction at all. That’s why The Wide-Awake Princess is such a great read – Annie was the complete opposite of her sister; she was strong-willed and a very likeable girl, who was able to ride horses and dance and swim and perform a variety of other tasks her dainty sister wouldn’t dream of attempting. She was the type of princess to make friends with all the servants and helpers, and knew the castle grounds back to front. I really liked the way she was the one to save Liam, because it just emphasised her character and the type of person she was. I also really like the relationship between Liam and Annie, especially when Annie was trying to win over Prince Andreas, which made for some hilarious comments from Liam.
Speaking of the princes, I think they were the most hilarious part of the book. Finding each prince often ended in some odd event or funny situation, and I really liked how Annie subtly showed them she was boss whilst still maintaining the manners of a princess. Another thing I liked was the casual mention of other twisted fairy-tales in the novel; a Rapunzel who didn’t want to be saved and a Hansel and Gretel pair called Tomas and Clara! They really added to the fun and cheery nature of the book and I really enjoyed reading about all of Annie’s adventures.
Overall, The Wide-Awake Princess was a funny and clever spin on the tale of Sleeping Beauty and I enjoyed it much more than the original story. Whilst only a light, sweet read with a few hints of romance, The Wide-Awake Princess is a perfect story for cheering yourself up, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fairy-tales with a twist, or to anyone simply looking for a cute book to curl up with.