Tor. Aug. 2023. 128p. ISBN 9781250244093. $19.99. FANTASY
Why was Sleeping Beauty trapped so thoroughly in her castle? That’s the question asked in Kingfisher’s (Nettle & Bone) inside-out version of the classic fairy tale, told through the eyes of Toadling, the almost-fairy with the too-kindly heart trapped by a spell gone wrong. She isn’t the princess, although she might have been. Toadling is the fairy “godmother” tasked with keeping a changeling “princess” from doing any more harm than she already has. When a kindly would-be knight finally arrives to solve the mystery, Toadling has to decide whether to trust in his seeming goodness or maintain the protections that have trapped her every bit as much as the beautiful but deadly princess within. This marvelously fractured fairy tale takes a well-known and well-loved story and turns it completely around, into a story about love not being enough, duty not being sufficient, and love and joy being found in the unlikeliest of people and places.
VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone who loves to see fables fractured into new and different shapes, similar to Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered.
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