REVIEW: Fighting Sleep by Jenniffer Wardell
It’ll take more than true love’s kiss to break this curse.
After years of trying to find a cure, Princess Elena feels like she’s made her peace with the century-long nap in her future. But when the curse threatens to come early and a rogue prince wants to hurry it along even faster, circumstances force her to reunite with a frustrating figure from her childhood who has some secrets of his own. Can the two overcome their differences and work together to defeat the curse, stop the prince, and find their own happily-ever-after?
Dear Ms. Wardell,
While checking your website for any further word on Thea and “Dom,” I saw where you had rewritten and reissued “Dreamless.” I scurried off to buy it and just happened to have some free time in my reading schedule to slip it in. This is definitely more young-adult in feel than “Arch Nemesis” and is a clever twist on the tale of “Sleeping Beauty.”
Princess Elena is well aware of what is facing her before her eighteenth birthday all due in thanks to a curse laid on her even before her birth. 100 years of slumber is headed her way and nothing anyone has tried has fixed this. Unlike (Sleeping Beauty) Princess Aurora Rose’s family, Elena and her mother – both of whom have magical abilities – and the entire kingdom of witches, sorcerers, magic mirrors and wraiths have proactively attempted to find a cure or way to release Elena from her fate.
So far nada but Elena is still working the problem, still trying to think of something, anything that might do the trick. When a neighboring weasel of a prince tries to get the jump on kissing her out of her slumber before she’s even gone into it, her bodyguard is injured. With Prince Nigel strangely able to continue his efforts even from behind bars – honestly, the Palace Guards need a swift kick up the ass – a replacement is needed. Enter Cam, the son of the injured guard and one of the few people to see behind Elena’s mask of politeness.
Elena and Cam clashed until he entered the Boarder Guards and now immediately resume their bickering relationship. He enjoys niggling her and trying to shake her calm while she’s not going to let him pen her up in the Palace. But with short blackout periods starting to occur, Elena fears that the curse is beginning early and redoubles her efforts to discover a cure.
As Cam is around Elena, he realizes why she’s donned her armor against the concern, pity and sadness of others. She has no time for it but she also tries to maintain some distance so that when the curse strikes, fewer people will be hurt. Elena is baffled that Cam is apparently immune to her magic spells which has only ever happened with people who have genuine affection for her. Hmmm.
With time running out and the blackouts increasing, a new character appears to try and undue the curse which has seemingly interwoven itself into Elena’s magic and very being. Is there a way to free her without killing her? And after she and Cam finally acknowledge their feelings, could that be the kick needed to end the curse?
This is definitely a modern retelling of the story with a heroine determined to try and save herself rather than just giving into her fate or waiting for a Prince Charming. Even though Cam eventually takes a role in the elimination process, it’s still really Elena in control and making the decisions. It took me a little while to really warm up to her as she uses her magic and her politeness to distance people. She truly is trying to keep the number of people who will be intimately devastated if she does fall under the curse to a minimum. Her relationship with Cam serves to show her that she might be cutting off a source of help and support. It’s going to take a village to come up with a solution and Cam is not going to be left out.
The language of the story is contemporary even if the setting is a fairy tale world with kingdoms such as Yonder and Away. Also due to the targeted age group, it’s a sweet romance with sparse moments of saccharine. The visualization of the curse and the way it’s fought is inventive though the time spent attacking it gets a touch repetitive. But again, yay for a heroine who takes the reins in her own deliverance and HEA. B