Monday, August 8, 2011

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden

Ever since sixteen-year-old Rose DuBois woke up from months in a coma with absolutely no memories, she’s had to start from scratch. She knows she loves her two aunts who take care of her, and that they all used to live in France, but everything else from her life before is a blank.Rose tries to push through the memory gaps and start her new life, attending high school and living in Boston with her aunts, who have seriously old world ideas. Especially when it comes to boys. But despite their seemingly irrational fears and odd superstitions, they insist Rose not worry about the eerie dreams she’s having, vivid nightmares that she comes to realize are strangely like the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. The evil witch, the friendly fairies, a curse that puts an entire town to sleep—Rose relives the frightening story every night. And when a mysterious raven-haired woman starts following her, Rose begins to wonder if she is the dormant princess. And now that she’s awake, she’s in terrible, terrible danger. . . .


Genre: fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Notes: #5 of Modern Retellings of Classics Challenge (Sleeping Beauty)

Trying to take the story of Sleeping Beauty and make it more "real", this book succeeds on some levels, but on others really annoys me by falling into some over used cliches. One of those is the cliche where the adults decide not to tell the teenager the truth in the interest of "protecting" them, which inevitably leads to the teenager putting themself in more danger when it could have been avoided had everyone been honest. Rose easily could have dealt with what her aunts kept from her, but their decision to lie simply put Rose in more danger and made her think she was insane. While it wasn't exactly a cliche, we're still supposed to like Jared even though he gets irritated when Rose backs out of having sex with him. While it might be understandable, it's still out of character for a boy who is supposed to be a model of heroism in this novel. Then there's the very, very loose end of Rose's brother, which makes the book seem like it should have some sort of sequel when it doesn't.

While there are glaring issues with the book, it's still appealing. The concept of amnesia and waking from a coma are handled believably and have a different take on things. Rose is a tough girl who dishes it back out to bullies even without knowing who she really is. Her romance with Jared is one dimensional, but her trying to find a place in her school is well done. It was worth a read even if the flaws were pretty obvious.

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