Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Briar Rose

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

It is an old, old tale, the German story of Briar Rose, the Sleeping Beauty. Now one of America's most celebrated writers tells it afresh, set this time in the forests patrolled by the German army during World War II. A tale of castles, of mists and thorns, of a beautiful sleeping princess, and an astonishing revelation of death and rebirth. A tale that will leave you changed forever. The tale of Briar Rose.

I was a bit worried that it was going to be too dark (given the subject matter), but I decided to read it anyway. Because of the way that the novel is structured, as readers we are somewhat distanced from the horror of the Holocaust. As it became a fairy tale for Gemma, so does it become one for us as we follow Becca on her quest. Even when the horrors are recounted we are shielded by layers of story and want to rush through that part to find out the solution to the mystery.

Unlike the other readers of my copy of the book (it's a BookCrossing book so I read their reactions), I was not disappointed by the ending (because I read their journal entries yesterday and so didn't expect a fantastic ending? maybe, maybe not). I honestly don't know what I would have changed about it. It may have been too simple after the journey, but isn't that how things happen in real life?

I'm definitely going to look up the other books in Terri Windling's Fairy Tale series (the first few books in the series were published by Ace including one by Charles de Lint, Jack of Kinrowan, which I know I read many years ago).

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