Thank you to NetGalley and Becky Bird for providing an e-copy of Slumber in exchange for an honest opinion.
Everyone knows that the market for fairy tale retellings is hot right now and, as such, is becoming saturated. However, Becky Bird comes at the story of Sleeping Beauty from a completely different angle: what if “true love’s kiss” which breaks the spell isn’t that between the Prince and Princess?
Slumber was a slow burner for me personally. Initially I agreed with previous reviews that the novel would be considered middle-grade rather than YA but my opinion did change about half way through the book. In my opinion, this was when the author ‘settled in’ to the novel and truly developed the characters into ones the reader could relate to and find themselves rooting for.
This was also the point where it became clear Becky Bird was challenging a number of stereotypes through her characters: the Cardinal is a man of God but this does not necessarily make him good; Lucy is an orphan but this does not make her weak; Jack is a boy but this does not make him brave and, finally, Thomas is a Prince but this does not make him charming! This humanised the characters for me and I found myself growing to really like them.
There are also a number of tongue-in-cheek references to fairy tales which I really appreciated. Phrases such as “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” and Jack running for the trees every chance he got added an undercurrent of humour throughout the novel.
Unfortunately, there were moments where I got frustrated by the novel skipping between locations and characters- sometimes mid-event. Separating these by chapters or even page breaks would have made this an easier read. The start of the book especially also seemed to be a tad “over written” with references to a literal river of tears and a croissant described as a “creamy delight”.
Overall Slumber was a quick and easy read with a really great concept and endearing characters. It possibly could have benefitted from some suspense as all the Cardinal’s motives were revealed right at the start of the book but nevertheless it was an enjoyable read.