When I first picked up this book, I thought I was about to dive into the next retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but from the first page, this book had already exceeded my expectations and really stunned my creativity. Thanks to Tor dot com for donating the book.
It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is special because it’s her last birthday. When she was young, an industrial accident rarely left Zinnia. Little is known about her illness, only so much so that no one lived after twenty-one.
Her best friend Charmas is going to make Zinnia’s last birthday special by providing a comprehensive sleeping beauty experience along with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia picks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she falls into the worlds, with another sleeping beauty, also desperately to avoid her fate.
I can’t believe I started this book thinking it would just be another retelling of fairy tales. It’s not. That’s not the case, and I’m a little happy about that. The moment I read how Zinnia put her finger on the support shaft during her 21st birthday, which moved her to another world, I knew I would be hooked, and I really enjoyed it.
The world itself was a typical world of your fantasies with castles and kingship and an angry fairy conjuring a primrose, but I also loved the prospects of a bad fairy. Always with these stories, we never see what the other side of the story is thinking, and seeing that perspective, you really realized that sometimes fate is cruel and unusual. I also liked the other little nods, like the primrose acting like a royal princess. I’m not talking about being broken or ugly, but actually raised as a leader and demanding some respect. It was interesting to see.
I think my favorite character was Charm because she can make an attitude and her desire to help Zinia in the situation she found herself in. It was weird that Zinnia was still able to write a charm text (and a little irresponsible for not sending a message to her family) where she was), but I liked that Charm is one of those thick and thin friends who won’t be angry at you for a long time and help get out of any situation.
I really enjoyed the multifaceted and many sleeping beauties. Although their time in the book has been shortened a bit and it would have been great to get acquainted with all the different versions of Sleeping Beauty and how they can help each other overcome their destinies. But I really enjoyed seeing them all in the same room with the same goal of helping Primrose stay and helping Zinnia get back to her real life before the medication ran out.
And I liked that part. I enjoyed all the news about keeping my destiny. Zinnia, being an terminally ill patient, always felt that she had no control over what would happen, and this forced her to live like a zombie life. It makes me so happy that she finds the goal to the end and realizes that despite her destiny, you can rewrite the story and make her work.
The only part that really offended me and probably won’t hurt anyone else is the explanation of the multifaceted world and how Zinnia could have traveled through them. I would like this to be explained in a little more detail just because there are so many ways in stories, and knowing how to use it in this one would really help me imagine how Zinnia moves from one space to another.
All in all, it was a pretty epic story in a very small package. I just read that this is a series, so I look forward to seeing what other stories Alix E Harrow rewrites!