Aurora Rose slumbers in the city of Oldpass, a cursed kingdom once allied with Grimvein. The victim of a malicious spell, she is powerless to control her own fate. At least, that’s how the story goes.
Now, as Grimvein faces attack, Prince Amir has been tasked with the life-threatening rescue of Aurora, his parents hopeful he will marry the princess and secure safety for their kingdom. Talia, the strongest spellcaster in the known lands, protects and guides the prince in his quest to save a woman that threatens to change their lives forever.
In finding Aurora, the pair will realise the truth about themselves and each other, coming to understand just what – and who – they really want in life.
This was a good and entertaining novella by Langham. As you may already know, this is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I enjoy reading queer retellings of fairytales and this ended up being exactly what I was hoping for.
Since this is a novella and time is short, I really liked that Langham started the story right in the thick of things. It helped set the book up with a good pace that continued through the whole story. There was plenty of danger and foes around every corner to keep me reading the pages. And really anytime a book has a dragon, just gives it extra points in my mind.
The romance is very sweet and light but it made me smile anyway. This is more of an adventure story but as you know “true love” does have a big meaning in Sleeping Beauty. When it comes to the characters I thought they were likeable and reasonable fleshed out for a novella length story.
Really my only main complaint is I wanted more. While I was satisfied with the ending, I would like to know what is going to happen to the characters next. The actual world building was bigger than you normally get in a novella so I would love to see a part 2.
If you are a fan of fairytales, I think you will enjoy this. Langham writes well and this was an entertaining novella. I also have to give props to the cover. I just love it. NineStar Press books sure have some fantastic covers.
Confession - I have never watched Disney's 1959 Sleeping Beauty till the end, can't blame the Sandman for falling asleep as the movie was just bad. Disney's 2nd effort is wayyyy better, who can resist Jolie playing villain but the constantly giggling Aurora (she did the same in We Bought A Zoo) gets on my Nerf Target Practice List.
So why read Finding Aurora? Two big names when it comes to Fantasy/Action/Adventure genre - Lex and F recommend it, that's why. Whisper - the enticing cover plays a tiny part.
Disney should ask Ms.Langham to write the screenplay for the next version of SB (a common and frustrating Hollywood trend) as I will definitely be watching it because the hype is real and damn good.
From the first page, I was placed on a rollercoaster without restraint nor seat belt as I joined Amir and Talia on their spellbinding Quest. Talia was magically gifted, had a bit of a crush on Amir and formed a beautiful relationship / connection with the mysterious Red who had been with her since forever. For a short read, this was another jam-packed action filled with twist and turns, some favorite magical creatures and a battle combining the power of sword and magic .
Can you imagine Spongebob in love? Yes, I became him when I read this - "Don’t be upset, my Talia,” she soothed, cupping my face with her hands. “You found me.” - Swooon!
Ms.Langham, evil genius you are! Now do tell that you'll be writing a sequel and I'll be preparing a waiting room next to Djara's. Favorite Disney leads - Merida and Moana, for taking charge of their own destinies.
Talia, the caster of Grimvein accompanies Prince Amir on his quest to awaken Aurora Rose in the hopes that their two kingdoms can once again be allied as they were over a century before. Prince Amir will willingly put his personal needs aside for the kingdom and so will Talia. She’s the strongest spellcaster in the land and also feels a kinship for Amir.
This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a difference. I liked the difference. The descriptions are interesting and evocative. Talia as a character appealed to me and the surprises along the way kept me engaged.
Book received from Netgalley and NineStar Press for an honest review.
★★★★⭐ | Predictable but I still really enjoyed it!
I don't really know what yo say without spoiling too much but it's a nice sapphic Sleeping Beauty retelling with a bisexual MC who does some magic. There's a prince as well. He doesn't do much but he's cool too. I wish there was some sort of an epilogue though because it ended too soon for me. Also, I smiled the whole read so give it a go if you need something sweet and short!
Two things I loved about this book, the reader is thrown right into the action and secondly, the language is tight and clean. Two of my favorites qualities in a story. As many know, Finding Aurora is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a handsome prince and a royal spell-caster on a quest to awaken a beautiful princess. Action packed, full of scary creatures, brave deeds, narrative twists and turns, romance, it’s all there but in small quantities, like a tease. My sincere hope is that the author is going to expand this story into a full length book because it’s more than worth it.
This book was the May 2019's Sapphic Book Club read hosted by sapphicbookclub.
This is a really nice short retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a twist.
I think the plot twist was fairly obvious right off the bat, but it's still a great idea. And that most of the short plot consists of an adventure quest is not the most exciting for me personally, but a few nice details still made it an enjoyable read.
I think what stood out for me most in this novella is the description of how magic works in this world from the perspective of a caster. While it uses the principles we know from common fairy tales like 'true loves breaks every curse', I was much more intrigued by reading how someone with actual magical abilities uses them.
This book was May's Sapphic Book Club read by @sapphicliterature.
This novella was so beautifully written. It was short but every aspect was perfect. I saw where the ending was going fairly early on, but there were still twists along the way, all delightful. Literally everything about this read spoke to my heart and I loved it. Fairy tales, magic users, both sapphic and aspec rep? The acknowledgment of platonic love as equally strong and important to romantic love? Perfection
Fairy tale retellings for older readers are only interesting if they subvert childhood expectations to reveal something more about the fantasy worlds we like to inhabit. The actual message of how love takes many forms in this short story is wonderful, but the journey we take to get there is little more than plodding.
We meet our main character, Talia, in medias res with her prince Amir and their quest to find Aurora Rose, a cursed princess hidden behind magic, goblins, and dragons. Talia is a gifted magic-user, and with the help of a lifelong elusive spirit-friend named Red, she leads Amir to the slumbering princess. While the trials might provide some small story twists, they’re presented in a dull, action-free fashion that is definitely more showing than telling. I wanted more characterization and interaction between Talia and Amir, but the juvenile battle sequences often overshadowed any development that could’ve occurred.
I actually didn’t see the twist at the end coming until it happened, and it was a nice change of pace from a standard fairy tale retelling. It isn’t different because the two characters are women, it’s different because the sleeping princess isn’t who we expected her to be from the start. And the small change to the stereotype of a dashing romantic hero makes Amir an interesting character, even if he’s mostly on the sidelines.
This is a sweet, fast story, but it is also poorly paced and low on real tension. Not a standout by Langham so far, whose other works have showed more impressive world-building and characterization skills. There are better fairy tale retellings out there
4 Stars for this Sleeping Beauty (Aurora Rose) retelling.
The prince in this case is Prince Amir from the kingdom of Grimvein. He is accompanied by a powerful spellcaster, the Leading Caster of Grimvein, Talia. Amir's parents task him to awake and marry Aurora who has been asleep for 100 years. Many have tried but none had succeeded to getting to her. The two of them are hopeful that by working together they can reach Aurora. Of course there is that little detail of True Love's Kiss...
I really enjoyed this story. Both of the characters are heroic and likable. I liked that Amir is a "Prince" of a guy, a warrior, loyal, and brave. The author could've easily made him arrogant. Talia is smart, and powerful and together they have a chance.
If you enjoy fairy tale retellings or perhaps never read one, give this novella a try.
**I must include a link to one of my favorite fairy tale retellings Maleficent Beauty by Creme Brulee. Check it out.
I enjoyed this short story that retells the story of Sleeping Beauty as a quest for self-discovery. Prince Amir is tasked with rescuing Aurora Rose (Sleeping Beauty) from her 100 year slumber in order to marry her for political alliance. His quest companion is spellcaster Talia. Talia loves the Prince and her spirit friend and guide Red who comes to her in time of need. Red has no form in the world, but she has Talia’s heart. How do you get from this set-up to a Happy Ever After? Well, you do, and it was fun to follow the twists and turns to find out.
I wish this was a longer story. I want to find out more of what is happening. I take that as a good sign.
What a wonderful book! I especially loved how Langham delightfully queered up Sleeping Beauty in more ways than one (again, I’m avoiding sharing spoilers), while keeping the story in a traditional fairy tale setting.
In many ways I wish this was longer only because I enjoyed it so much, but I do feel it works it's currently length. This is a different take on Disney's Sleeping Beauty. Everyone has seen this at some point in there life right? Prince has to kiss the sleeping princess to wake her from the spell that has been cast on her.
I went into Finding Aurora blindly. Langham does a great job retelling this story in a new way. Prince Amir and Talia (a spellcaster and employee of the King and Queen) head to Oldpass to rescue Aurora and the town of Oldpass. Neither Amir and Talia have a choice in the matter if they expect to save Grimvein. During the Journey, Talia is helped by her spirit friend Red who has been with her since she was 15. Yes this is a Romance, but not in the traditional sense. Langham just does a really good job with the telling of this story and how she works the characters in this story.
If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham is one you’re going to want to grab to read ASAP. This is a kickass Sleeping Beauty retelling and it was refreshing to see the Prince having a female spell-caster helping him find Aurora and learning who he truly is.
Talia has been tasked with helping Prince Amir of Grimvein to locate Aurora Rose in the hopes of a securing a marriage contract that will unite the kingdoms and guarantee Grimvein’s safety. As in the traditional Sleeping Beauty, Aurora has been cursed to slumber until her true love wakes her. Throughout this journey we see the friendship between Talia and Prince Amir grow. They work together and trust each other to make it through whatever situation they land in. Even when Talia speaks her spirit guide, Red, Prince Amir treats her as a friend would. Red comes to Talia in times of need, provides companionship, and protects Talia.
Red is incredible. I got a bit of an image in my mind the first time Red was mentioned and I feel like the word beautiful doesn’t do how I picture he justice. Even while I’m writing this, I can clearly see her in my head. Red and Talia’s connection is deep and I so badly wanted them to meet in more than the spirit world. Red is going on this journey just as much as Talia and Prince Amir.
What I truly enjoyed was the different take on the tale. Once they come close to finding Aurora Rose, they face different ‘tasks’ (that’s the best way I can describe it). They face Goblins, the dragon and it turns out to be more than goblins and a dragon. They were part of Aurora Rose’s family. It was a bit heart breaking finding out that they had been stuck in those forms, unable to remember who they were for over a century.
The love between Red and Talia is sweet and left me feeling happy and hopeful. I’d love to see what happens after this novella and how the kingdoms fair.
This was really well-written and creative! The world building was impressive for such a short story and it was sufficiently true to the original fairy tale while also having its own entirely separate and unique spin. I liked the twists at the end too!
This was an adorable read. It was short and quite straightforward, and to be honest I can't decide whether I liked it or not. Because it was so short, it was mostly just a story running along the plot and not much else. Personally, I enjoy going a bit deeper. It's not like it was a bad thing, it just didn't work the best for me. I felt like especially the prince's character could've been developed a teeny bit more, but I understand why the story was kept short and tight.
It was definitely a cute story. Not the most surprising one, but sometimes I truly just enjoy following a story, even if I can figure out what's going to happen. There also was very little tension, so it was comforting to read. Sure, it could've had some more challenges, it could've become more gripping, that would've made it maybe a teeny bit better. I still appreciate a smooth story. And the magic... the magic in this world worked beautifully, I loved it.
Overall, I wasn't disappointed. I knew it was going to be a short one, and I almost expected not to get hooked on (because I usually need something deeper), but the story managed to surprise me. A nice retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
This is a really short story, and I really wish it was a full length novel in order to give the characters an appropriate amount of time to really develop. As it is, there just isn't enough time to get fully fleshed and rounded characters and storylines in 70 pages. Rebecca Langham sure does give good bang for her buck, though. I actually didn't see the plot twist coming until it was almost upon me, and then it hit me what was about to happen and I squealed "OHMIGOD!" really loudly while reading, startling my husband and children, who stared at me like I was some sort of bizarre cursed dragon-thing. Sheesh, you'd think they'd never seen me get all giddy over a romance plotline before.
The pacing is rather abrupt and the reader is dropped right into the action, but I feel like that's to be expected for a story that's so short and so action-packed. I feel like there was really enough here that it could have easily been a full length fantasy novel - and boy, if Langham ever decided to fully flesh it out into a full length novel, sign me up for the first run, because I am THERE. This is a great book, and I highly recommend for wonderful twist - not your traditional Sleeping Beauty story.
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.
The beautiful retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a queer twist!
I loved every moment of reading this enchanting, classic fairy tale with a twist. The writing is tight and engaging from the beginning. The story of Aurora, the sleeping princess is not new to me and as a child, I read this book and watched the Disney movie. Rebecca Langham has made this little girl inside me jump for joy at being represented in this masterfully rewritten fairy tale.
I loved the character of Talia, the Spellcaster. She helps and aides Prince Amir in his quest to find and rescue Princess Aurora. I loved the bond between Amir and Talia as friends and as colleagues on their great quest. They truly had an emotional connection that was beautiful to watch.
Rebecca Langham was able to keep all the traditional beauty in this fairytale while introducing a new and intriguing element that had me excited to turn each page! I don’t want to go into too much detail as there are many ways to drop spoilers and trust me, you don’t want that.
I really hope Rebecca Langham continues this story into a second novella or a novel. Phenomenal read! Go grab it now.
I liked this interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. I enjoyed some of the twists on the classic story. It was interesting seeing how magic was depicted in this story. I also enjoyed how Talia ended up realizing the significance of her feelings for Prince Amir were platonic but still deeply meaningful.
I would have liked to see more of what happened to the characters after the curse was broken. It felt like some of the worldbuilding was interesting and seeing more of the after would have given it a chance to shine.
Rebecca Langham’s debut novel Beneath The Surface was, in my opinion, a superb piece of sci-fi. As such, I was eager to dive into her new novella Finding Aurora. This time, Rebecca is working in a fantasy world, providing us with an LGBTQ retelling of the classic fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty.
The first thing to note here is that, even with the short length of the book, it’s clear that the magic system for the world has rules. We get enough of a glimpse of this to feel that there’s a structure in place, and that is something that really enriches this sort of story. Sure, it may not get to the near technical manual levels of some longer works, but that level of detail isn’t needed here. Rebecca is great at creating vivid pictures of what’s happening and shows us what we need to know, rather than padding it all out. In particular, I was really intrigued by the number of very different but equally well-crafted spells used by our protagonist Talia.
The story hurtles along at a decent pace, and we don’t really waste any pages. It’s a concise retelling and all the better for it. What this means is that when we’re not dealing with magical workings and action, we get plenty of character growth and exploration of ideas. For example, the discussion about the existence of love’s first kiss and how it exists long before you meet was fascinating. On top of that, we have a nice spectrum of representation here, with a FF pairing, bisexuality, and asexuality all covered by the characters. I was also really happy with how the book dealt with the first kiss between the slumbering princess and her rescuer; the character in question does acknowledge the inherent problem of the sleeping curse as it pertains to consent and acts in a necessary but well thought out way.
In terms of negatives, there’s very little to talk about. The short length may well leave you wanting a little more, of course. I’d also say that I spotted the twist ending long before it happened, though I did feel that the clues were in place to enable this if you look for them. No, my only real issue is that, as good as the ending is, it does leave some plot threads hanging. While it’s fun to try to figure out where things went next, it would have been nice to see some of it carry through to a definite conclusion.
In all though, this is a marvelous, quick read. It actually marks the first time in a long while that I’ve been compelled to read a book in one sitting. This is an easy 4 out of 5.
Well, this was not something that I expected. Based on the blurb, I was expecting one thing, but ended up with another. Since this is the retelling of Sleeping Beauty, there were some story beats that I was looking for, such as looking for the sleeping princess in the tower, which is where the story for this book begins.
We're introduced to both, Talia, a mage in the service to the crown, and the prince, Amir, as they are picking their way through the remains of an old castle town in search for the legendary princess. Talia is the narrator, and she is much like the prince: put into what seems to be an impossible task with the expectation to succeed. She and Amir are extremely close; so much so that Talia developed a confusing crush on him that she often thinks about while they aren't dodging traps. She also has a spiritual guide, named Red, that she also has feelings for. In true teenage fashion, Talia bounces back and forth between the two, thinking they are both untouchable - well, Red literally cannot be touched because she's a spirit.
While Talia is angsting about her potential lost loves, she and Amir uncover the truth behind legend of the sleeping princess. This is where it gets really interesting, as there are a couple of really good twists that make the book fun. I enjoyed learning about the kingdom and its story through the eyes of the characters so much more than the relationships. One of the big revelations felt a little too convenient to me, since it let Talia make an easier choice on who she should fall in love with. Now, the hints were there all along on the final choice, but I still felt like it was still too easy.
Overall, though, this was a quick romp into fairytale land. Any one who enjoys fairy tale retelling with some queer characters, this one is a good pick up.
I love re-imagined fairytales, so when I was given the opportunity to read this, it was with great anticipation. It’s a shame when expectations aren’t met, but I wasn’t disappointed. The author knows how to command a shorter story and make it count. The very issues I struggled with in her longer novel, Beneath The Surface, (mainly the dizzying amount of detail) have been tempered slightly, resulting in a far more balanced, assured read. Every word counts, and the result is like a cardinal finch, a flash of red, dazzling and gorgeous, then it’s gone. At approximately 25,000 words it isn’t a chunky read, but one with depth and character.
It’s hard to review this without giving anything away, but the real love affair is hiding in plain sight as Prince Amir ventures on his quest to rescue the slumbering Aurora. There’s a tense battle scene, some hideous monsters, loss and grief, as well as a gorgeous denouement as love conquers all (that isn’t a spoiler – we all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, after all.) In one word: delicious.
Questa è la prima pubblicazione che leggo di questa autrice, e devo dire che mi è piaciuta davvero molto.
Talia, la giovane incantatrice/maga del regno di Grimvein, deve accompagnare il suo principe, Amir, a liberare la principessa Aurora. Questa, infatti, è prigioniera di un sonno profondo nella città di Oldpass a causa di un maleficio.
Ebbene sì, questo è un retelling della Bella Addormentata, ma in chiave lgbt+. Non voglio spoilerare la sessualità dei protagonisti, perché è una cosa piuttosto importante nella storia, però posso dire che come persona lgbt+ io stessa mi è piaciuto il modo in cui l'autrice ha gestito la cosa.
Finding Aurora è un fantasy piuttosto lineare e classico, quasi sword & sorcery se non fosse che per la maggior parte si parla della seconda. Incantesimi, creature orribili, tranelli... Mi mancava un po' questa classicità, che comunque è gestita in modo ottimo e non banale.
Per quanto riguarda i personaggi, Talia è un personaggio davvero particolare. Non solo per via della sua magia, ma per come si pone di fronte alle difficoltà e ai suo sentimenti per Amir e Red. Amir a tratti mi è sembrato un po' stupido, però il suo coraggio, il suo essere volenteroso e la sua pietà me lo fanno amare lo stesso. L'amicizia tra lui e Talia è qualcosa di davvero prezioso. Per quanto riguarda Red, invece, all'inizio sappiamo davvero poco di lei e questo mi rendeva un po' restia nei suoi confronti, ma alla fine tutti i nodi vengono al pettine e la sua storia si ricongiunge con quella degli altri. Anche la sua relazione con Talia è profonda e peculiare, e forse la cosa che mi è piaciuta di più assieme al poco worlduilding necessario. Gli altri personaggi sono un po' delle comparse, quindi in realtà non mi sono fatta un'idea.
Per quanto riguarda lo stile dell'autrice. non c'è male. Però non mi ha lasciato una vera impressione, non contrubuisce molto alla storia.
Nel complesso una novelette che consiglio vivamente, e spero di poter leggere presto qualcos'altro di quest'autrice!
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was a short but very enjoyable story. It is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but with an unexpected twist that was very sweet; I love how the whole true love idea ended up being something different from the original fairytale. Because of the story's length, we understandably don't get to know a lot about the characters, and there was limited world building. Despite this, it was a nice little story and I would recommend it!
Finding Aurora is a short, sweet, and fun retelling of Sleeping Beauty with LGBTQ+ characters, which was a nice change of pace. I grew to love these characters and would willingly follow them through a series. Thanks to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for a copy of the ARC.
I read this book as part of the May 2019 read for Sapphic Book Club.
Considering the length, I thought the story was very tightly structured and the world building was deep and expressive. The characters were well developed too, and I ended up reading it almost in a single sitting. The tragic bits cut deep, and I really felt the characters' pain at things they had lost.
However, considering how well developed all of those things were, I wish the story was longer. I felt like the plot wasn't given enough space to unravel as naturally as it could have, especially given how immersive it was. I felt like the underlying love arc wasn't given enough space either, despite me not seeing it coming and being very pleased with the outcome. I like how Red and Talia's link was woven through the narrative and it felt so natural for them to end up together, but I still felt like a longer story might've done their love arc more justice.
I also wish the sapphic part of the book was more overt/established throughout, but I figure it would've been a major spoiler for the ending if that was the case. I also felt as though Talia's crush on Amir was resolved a little too quickly at the end, and it felt like it was only resolved to be put aside in time for her to realise Aurora was her love. But this was still a good read and I did enjoy myself. Would definitely recommend.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
The idea of a retelling of a popular well known story is not something I would typically gravitate to especially when it comes to gender reversal I prefer new stories and new ideas. That said I found everything about this story to be charming and magical. The story was changed enough to make it the writers own and still managed to stay true to the source material.
It was a well crafted and well written with a beautiful setting that sucked me in. Even though this was a short story I was able to get to know the main characters, which was nice, because I really wanted to understand them and find out what made them different. I also very much appreciated that the author didn't feel the need to sex up the story, instead she focused on telling a story that anyone could read and enjoy.