Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty, by Jane Yolen
Gorse is the thirteenth fey in her family, with twelve elder brother and sisters. Her mother, the seventh of seven, and her aunts all expect great things from Gorse. They think that she is the One from a prophesy.
Gorse is not what you’d expect for the “evil” fairy from the Sleeping Beauty tale. In this twisted fairy tale, she is the heroine and Sleeping Beauty is the daughter of a petty, greedy king. A girl who is selfish and unkind, and who represents the descent of the royal line into selfish and weak rulers. Worse, the Family is bound to the land and must do the Bidding of the royal family.
The Family are Shouting Fey, and Gorse has never been formally trained. At thirteen, the family is called to a royal Bidding, to bless the new princess. Unfortunately for Gorse, things go wrong along the way. At risk of bursting into a thousand stars for oath breaking, Gorse must find a way to escape her unexpected detour and make it to the royal Bidding on time and with the right gift. She meets some interesting characters along the way, and might just help out the Family after all.
I felt like this story started off quite strong, and I really liked Gorse and her family. It was easy to picture the bickering and opinionated Aunts, and the rowdy bunch of cousins all playing together.
Unfortunately, I felt like the plot line fizzled out prematurely. The story kind of tripped and fell flat on it’s face. The explanation of what Gorse DID exactly, and HOW left me skeptical. That skepticism extended to the final lines … which I shall not discuss because spoilers (but suffice it to say, I was not entirely convinced).