Prince Darien wants to find a true love like his friend King Michael has found with his wife. Queen Aleyna lives in a sleep induced world in which she does not know about the horrors in her past and the horror that awaits her future. Ezralon the unicorn keeps her in this state until she can face Villeria, the witch who killed Aleyna's family and placed a curse on her. Darien and Aleyna are destined to meet, when his friends challenge his honor by saying he is scared of the ghostly queen. When Darien learns the truth about Aleyna, he will stop at nothing to defend her and bring her back to the world.
This was a very dark novella. Villeria is a truly vicious villain who uses torture as one of her most effective tactics. The bloody violence she inflicted on Aleyna's family and people is very macabre and gives this a darker feel than Beauty and the Beast by her. I think this makes Sleeping Beauty a unique retelling and gives it a sort of horror story type feel. I have mixed feelings on Aleyna as a character. In the end she is pretty strong, but she is treated throughout the book as fragile and incapable of anything. She was a bit too much damsel in distress.
Favorite Character: Ezralon, because I love unicorns. He was also very brave, although he, like all the male characters, underestimated Aleyna.
Favorite Quote: "Perfection may be good on the outside, but if there are no trials-if we do not face our destroyers and challenge our right to truly live-then what is the point of living if we do not gain anything, if everything is frozen, if we do not find out what we are capable of achieving?"
I like James' retellings and will probably read more of them at a later date. These were the only two available on Overdrive, but I liked them enough to purchase the rest. 3 cups of cocoa.