Sunday, June 11, 2006

Once Upon a Summer's Day - Dennis L. McKiernan [June/06]

I bought this book because of the cover and because on the cover it says: "A fanciful fairy tale". That brief sentence meant a book purchase.

From the back of the book, though:

Once upon a summer day, Prince Borel of the Winterwood falls asleep, and a beautiful golden-haired maided with a shadowy band across her eyes comes to his dreams and pleads for aid. She returns time after time, and the prince is certain she is real and in deadly peril. Yet he knows not who she is... nor where she is imprisioned.

Opposed by witches and Trolls and Goblins and beings even more dreadful, and aided by a Field Sprite. Borel begins a desperate quest through the wonders and hazards of Faery, seeking a mysterious masked demoiselle guarded by perilous blades. And though time touches not this land of legend, time is running out...

Fantasy is my favourite genre, and I have hardly been reading any lately! I am going through a fairy tale retelling phase as I am reading The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey right now, which retells Cinderella and other fairy tale aspects. Once Upon a Summer's Day retells Sleeping Beauty. I found myself really enjoying this book, so I can not wait to read the other two books in the series! With a fourth one due out at an undisclosed time.

It is your typical adventure story with the handsome prince going off to save the damsel in distress. Not something I like to read all the time, but exceptions can be made if the book is well-written and interesting. This one was. There are a lot of strong female characters in it to make up for the stereo-typing, and in two of the other novels in the series it is a female going to save the male, so a happy medium. Prince Borel is quite the character anyways, with his back up at the start of the novel being a pack of wolves. Then when peril strikes and he is separated from them, we meet a Field Sprite and his friend, a bumble bee. That is an interesting cast of characters. They offer the humour to the tale.

It has all the great characters from fairy tales and fantasy novels. It is a book that once you start you will not want to stop. I think even people that don't normally fantasy novels. I am a kid at heart, reading all these fairy tale retellings.


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