In a world where everyone royal is enhanced by magic — handsomer, prettier, better — Princess Annabelle (Annie to her friends) stands out. She doesn’t have any magic. In fact, no magic will work on her, and the longer she’s around, the less potent others’ magic becomes. So, she’s not exactly welcomed by her parents, or her sister Gwendolyn, who, they say, is the prettiest princess in all the kingdoms.
So, when Gwendolyn pricks her finger on a spindle and puts the entire castle to sleep, it’s up to Annie and one of the king’s guards, Liam (who was out running an errand when the spell hit), to find Gwendolyn’s true love and bring him back to the castle to wake her up.
One of the most charming things about this book is the myriad of fairy tales it breezes through: there’s Sleeping Beauty, of course, but also Hansel and Gretel, Rose Red, Princess and the Pea, and Rapunzel, as well as a host of others that I’m sure I missed. The more one knows about fairy tales, the more fun this book is. That’s not to say that it isn’t fun on its own: Annie is a plucky character, and there is more than one instance where she manages to get out of scrapes (no damsel in distress in this book!) or into humorous situations because of her non-magic status. There are no real bad characters, and, sure, the romance that blossoms is to be expected, and the dialogue is a bit stilted, … but, you know, it works. It’s charming, it’s light, it’s fun, it’s a fairy tale with some clever twists.
And, really, it’s quite delightful.