Title: The Wide-Awake Princess
Author: E.D. Baker
Source/Format: Purchased, ebook
More Details: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Retellings
Publisher/Publication Date: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, May 11, 2010
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Synopsis from Goodreads...
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...
The story is focused on Annie, who after an unfortunate incident is left awake while everyone else in the castle is asleep. She sets out in search of her sister's one true love with the hopes that she can help her family. I really do enjoy retellings. The Wide-Awake Princess had many common attributes I look for in these kinds of books. Baker included details common to stories like Sleeping Beauty, but she also added enough changes to keep the story from seeming too close to the original tales.
I liked the fact that Baker decided to put a different spin on the various princes, and focused on the fact that being magically gifted wasn’t everything. That magic also wasn’t the miraculous fix for poor personalities, and even worse habits (and questionable sources of motivation). The first few pages were enough to grab my interest, and I kept reading to see how the story turned out. Right off the bat, I had questions regarding who the true culprit was. I really had no idea who it could be. In that way, Baker did a good job of setting up the mystery and presenting a plausible situation suited for Annie’s involvement.
Annie made the best of her so called gift. She was often left to be by herself, just based off circumstance she couldn’t control. I did like her attitude about it and how she focused on the things she could do, rather than the things she hadn’t been given through magic. Along Annie’s adventures was Liam, a guard. He was perfectly caring, and ready to help where he could.
Basically, I really enjoyed The Wide-Awake Princess, and I would definitely consider checking out the other books in the series.