Elizabeth's Reviews > When Rose Wakes

When Rose Wakes by Christopher Golden
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Dec 04, 2010

really liked it
Read in November, 2010

Rose DuBois has been in a coma for 2 years. She unexpectedly wakes up and remembers nothing about her life before except for her two aunts. After going through physical therapy and some counselling, she returns to her aunts' home. Her aunts have some weird quirks: they make her drink this really bitter tea and hang little charms all around her room. Plus they vehemently want her to stay away from any boys, almost abnormally so, and they refuse to give her any real detail of her life before the coma. Rose starts completely from scratch and goes to a new high school where she is known as Coma Girl. She manages to make a few friends and one big enemy by the name of Courtney. Although she has a pretty normal teenage life, her dreams are dark and take place in medieval France where she is a princess whose father must give her to his enemy's son in order to save their people's lives. To make matters worse, a scorned, black hearted fairy has cursed her and would love nothing more than to see her die. She has these dreams every night and begins to see things like crows and a creepy, dark woman following her. Is she just brain damaged or paranoid? Or is she actually in danger?

I love fairy tale retellings. Most authors take the hollow, flat characters in fairy tales and make them into multidimensional, relatable characters in the modern world. Christopher Golden does this very well, especially with a princess story. In Sleeping Beauty, the prince comes along and solves all of the princess's problems (while she lies passively) with a kiss, a marriage, and they live happily ever after. When Rose Wakes is drastically different from the original tale, mostly because of Rose. She is a strong person that starts her life from practically nothing. Her ways of dealing with problems like the horrible cheerleader Courtney are effective without lowering herself to Courtney's level. Although she can take care of herself, she is still a confused teenager who's not sure about what to do when she likes a guy or if she should listen to her aunts or who are her true friends. The "prince" in this tale is a main character, but he doesn't act as the savior that rescues the helpless princess from peril. They have an actual relationship. Other aspects of the story are also changed. The overall tone is much darker than the original while still preserving the essence of the story. The danger is much more present and makes the fantastical aspects of the novel more gritty and disturbing than those of the real world. I also really liked the twist on the spindle aspect of the curse, but I won't spoil anything here.

When Rose Wakes is an adventure filled retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I love the changes and improvements made to the story and I hope there is another book written about Rose. I would recommend it to lovers of fantasy and fairy tales.
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