Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty

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by Jane Yolen
     
 

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A reimagining of Sleeping Beauty from a master storyteller

Gorse is the thirteenth and youngest in a family of fairies tied to the evil king's land and made to do his bidding. Because of an oath made to the king's great-great-ever-so-many-times-great-grandfather, if they try to leave or disobey the royals, they will burst into a thousand stars.

When

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Overview

A reimagining of Sleeping Beauty from a master storyteller

Gorse is the thirteenth and youngest in a family of fairies tied to the evil king's land and made to do his bidding. Because of an oath made to the king's great-great-ever-so-many-times-great-grandfather, if they try to leave or disobey the royals, they will burst into a thousand stars.

When accident-prone Gorse falls ill just as the family is bid to bless the new princess, a fairytale starts to unfold. Sick as she is, Gorse races to the castle with the last piece of magic the family has left--a piece of the Thread of Life. But that is when accident, mayhem, and magic combine to drive Gorse's story into the unthinkable, threatening the baby, the kingdom, and all.

With her trademark depth, grace, and humor, Jane Yolen tells readers the "true" story of the fairy who cursed Sleeping Beauty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Yolen follows her Snow White retelling, Snow in Summer (2011), with a similarly inventive spin on Sleeping Beauty (like that book, this novel also derives from one of the author’s short stories). Half elf, half fey, Gorse is the youngest of 13, and as such, she is the last to learn of the oath that ties her family to the kingdom and requires them to do Royal Biddings, under penalty of bursting into a thousand stars. When Gorse is 13 years old, a Bidding comes down to bestow blessings on the newborn princess, Talia. Rushing to get to the castle, Gorse falls into a magical trap, and so begins an adventure that eventually results in her delivering an accidental gift to the princess. Yolen’s trademark humor is apparent throughout (“He clearly never met a comma or period he liked,” Gorse remarks after her family receives the king’s Bidding), and while the story takes some time getting started, as Gorse shares stories of family history and magical mishaps, that by no means detracts from its many pleasures. Ages 10–up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Nov.)
VOYA - Kim Carter
The youngest child of a mixed marriage between an elf and a member of the Shouting Fey, thirteen-year-old Gorse has been allowed to enjoy childhood longer than her twelve siblings. Angry at learning she and her family are tied to the land by an oath and required to do the king's bidding, regardless of how shortsighted, Gorse falls ill and is left behind when her family is summoned to the christening of the newborn princess, Talia. Worried that her absence will be considered an oath-breaking for her family, punishable by instant transformation into thousands of stars, Gorse takes a shortcut to the castle, only to fall into a magical trap that lands her in an underground cave. There she meets the self-centered, nasty Prince Orybon. Between Orybon's manipulations, Gorse's clumsiness, and the ancient magic of the gate that bars escape from the underground caves, Gorse fears she will never make it to the christening on time. The book's rather slow, whimsical, and meandering (a bit like Gorse herself) pace is offset by the more imaginative and fun details, such as Gorse's father's magical library with books from the past, present, and future and the underground McGargles—hairy creatures who like cooking but not cleaning. All is wrapped up neatly, as fairy tales are, in a most satisfying manner, explaining, at last, the subtitle of the book. Die-hard Jane Yolen fans and younger readers who enjoy the telling more than the tale will appreciate this prequel to Sleeping Beauty. Reviewer: Kim Carter
VOYA - Ruth Cowan
This book is good, though not amazing. Certain parts, like the beginning, are fairly slow. This book is definitely for the younger reader who likes fantasy with fairies and elves. Reviewer: Ruth Cowan, Teen Reviewer
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Gorse is the 13th child of the 7th daughter of an exiled and imprisoned faerie family, so she is supposed to be lucky—she could even be "the One." But in spite of dreams which might be prophetic (none have come true yet) and learning to fly extra early, she is accident prone and sickly and magick gives her a headache. This particular group of faeries, the Shouting Fey, enacts magick with a rhyme and a Shout, which leaves them quite exhausted for at least a day. A faerie war in the distant past left the Shouting Fey exiled above ground, where they sought the protection of the king in exchange for agreeing to do the Bidding of any member of the royal family. The Royals, however, have become dissolute and abusive, constantly taxing the Fey with petty requests to settle squabbles and appease their vanity. The protection is now recognized as imprisonment, for the Fey are tied to the land as long as the Royals continue to rule...or are they? When the current King and Queen bid the Shouting Fey to attend the christening of Princess Thalia, and bless her with a long list of magickal gifts, things begin to go awry. For Gorse is once again sick and lagging behind with an important gift—the thread of Life. Taking a short cut to catch up, she falls into a trap and encounters cave trolls, cursed faerie princes and a magick gate that she can't seem to shout open. When her brother Dusty falls into the same trap while looking for her, they ally themselves with Prince Grey and the trolls to escape; the entire family can now attend Thalia's christening. But the cursed prince Orybon has broken the thread of life and Gorse's mother must counteract the damage with a spell for sleep instead of death. This is a very alternative version of the Sleeping Beauty tale told in Yolen's engaging style with whimsical and endearing characters. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—In this imaginative retelling, the jealous, overlooked fairy who curses Sleeping Beauty is recast as a sickly, bookish teenager. Thirteen-year-old Gorse belongs to the Shouting Fey, a clan of mischievous fairies with powerful voices. In a subversive departure from the original tale in which benevolent fairies bestow gifts at the infant's christening, Yolen portrays the relationship between the royal family and the Shouting Fey as downright feudal. Tied to their land by an ancient oath, the Fey are compelled to perform spells at the whim of their capricious monarchs. On the day of the christening, Gorse rushes to the palace only to fall down a hole into a cave where she discovers two fey princes who have been banished for years, as well as revelations about her family's past. The frequent references to fairy lore are occasionally overwhelming; however, Yolen has crafted an intricate world full of well-developed characters. The incantations that the fey often invoke ("Blow and sow/This fertile ground/Until the knot/Be all unwound") add a lyrical quality to the elegant prose. Readers who typically prefer fairy-tale retellings, such as those by Donna Jo Napoli or Robin McKinley, may be put off because the plot largely revolves around Gorse's escape from the cave rather than Sleeping Beauty herself, but fans of more unconventional fantasy adaptations, such as Gregory Maguire's Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995), will enjoy seeing an antagonist receive a rich, compelling backstory.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
From the Publisher
"A graceful and absorbing look at a familiar villain."
Kirkus Reviews

"Inventive spin on Sleeping Beauty."
Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399256646
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
11/08/2012
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.34(h) x 1.03(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A graceful and absorbing look at a familiar villain."
Kirkus Reviews

"Inventive spin on Sleeping Beauty."
Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of American storytellers. She's written more than 300 books and has won numerous awards for her writing. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts, and Saint Andrews, Scotland.

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Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book read it
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