Mercedes Lackey magical A Tale of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series continues with a captivating new adventure…
Heavy is the head - and the eyelids - of the princess who wears the crown....
In Rosamund's realm, happiness hinges on a few simple beliefs. For every princess there's a prince. The King has ultimate power. Stepmothers should never be trusted. And bad things come to those who break with Tradition....
But when Rosa is pursued by a murderous huntsman and then captured by dwarves, her beliefs go up in smoke. Determined to escape and save her kingdom from imminent invasion, she agrees to become the subject of one of her stepmother's risky incantations - thus falling into a deep, deep sleep.
When awakened by a touchy-feely stranger, Rosa must choose between Tradition and her future between a host of eligible princes and a handsome, fair-haired outsider. And learn the difference between being a princess and ruling as a Queen.
What did you love best about The Sleeping Beauty?
After reading and listening to many of Mercedes Lackey's books, I decided to try the Five Hundred Kingdom's series. I have listened to all but one and after the first "Fairy Godmother" this was by far the best. It had all of the great elements of a hero, princess, and villain, but nothing was quite as it seemed or too cookie cutter. I sat in my car for the last hour and a half to hear the whole story wrap up since I couldn't wait until my next commute. Definitely worth the time.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Siegfried - he lives by trying to do what is right and not always what is easy.
What about Gabra Zackman’s performance did you like?
She just has a soothing voice that lets you escape into the story.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I really liked when the godmother gets her man too.
Any additional comments?
Wonderful - now on to the next book in the series :)
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I'm rather disappointed in this version of the story. I've read the actual book. There are whole scenes missing in this audio book. And some of those scenes are fairly important. If you haven't read the actual book I wouldn't recommend this at all.
I mean the story is fine and can be followed even with the missing pieces but it doesn't flow as well as the original and there are some strange time gaps.
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This book completely captured my imagination and attention, as narrated by Gabra Zackman. I read the paperback copy of this a few years back, but listening to it through Audible was a whole new experience. Not only is it my favorite in the Five Hundred Kingdoms story, it is probably now my favorite of all Mercedes Lackey very large body of work. The narration is superb...akin to Jim Dale reading Harry Potter and Ralph Cosham as Inspector Gamache in Louise Penny's novels. The best of Mercedes Lackey is reflected in this novel, with superb plotting and highly compelling character development. Some books are better candidates than others for listening to, and this is in the very top echelon for a recorded listening experience. Outstanding!!!!
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This Adult Fantasy, which mixes various fairytales with "The Ring Cycle," is one of Lackey's better 500 Kingdoms novels.
The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey, read by Gabra Zackman, published by Audible Studios (2013) / Length: 11 hrs 5 min
This is Book #5 of 6 in the "Five Hundred Kingdoms" series. These books can easily be read as standalones.
Although I feel that Ms Lackey's newer books lack the narrative tightness & emotional punch of her earlier work, this one is the one I like the most. I enjoy the characters, even the disreputable ones, and find more of the story to be interesting.
Note: it is not necessary to be familiar with "The Ring Cycle" at all. Ms. Lackey does an excellent job of presenting the slightly altered details she has based this on.
There are 3 main protagonists in this story.
Rosamund: Her father is the King and her mother, the late Queen, was once a commoner who got her HEA. Although she is definitely a damsel in distress, she does everything she can to save herself. And although she is strong, I like that at a particularly low moment she lets her self cry and be hysterical. Also that she still needs some help.
Siegfried: Although his background is very similar to that of Wagner's character with the same name (and he is running from a prophecy that he will marry his Valkyrie aunt), he is not the same type of person at all. He is intelligent, honorable, and very likeable. He has an intelligent Bird who keeps him company. Although he used to think that girls were icky, now he thinks that having someone "all his own" would be nice.
Godmother Lilly: She is a true Faerie Godmother (in this world, some Fairy Godmother's are talented & trained human women). She has been watching over the Kingdom for 100s of years. Some FG's take care of multiple kingdoms, but this one comes with enough troubles to keep her busy. She relies heavily on her mirror servant Jimson who is a great side character.
This takes place in a a world where magic has taken on a power of its own in the form of The Tradition. This is a non-sentient force that seeks to push everyone into typical fairy tale roles regardless of whether it will make them happy or not. There are Fae folk, but they don't have a big presence in this book; there are also mythical creatures such as unicorns; and all the typical fairy tale trappings.
I did feel like it took quite awhile to get to the most interesting parts of the book, and that maybe it should have started a bit later and flashbacked some more. Once all the main characters come together and are known to each other, it really picks up. (Note: this seems to be an issue with many of her newer books, I feel like the main story did start a bit sooner here than in others I've read.)
I wish we had gotten more parts with Rosamund and her future husband interacting together, although I liked what we did get. And there is one section where everyone is having to answer riddles and it jumps back and forth so much that it's hard to tell which answers go with which questions (this may only apply to audio version, I don't know).
Since each of these books is essentially standalone, we get a very satisfactory ending that wraps everything up nicely.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
--The "waking Sleeping Beauty" scene
--The "get rid of the curses" quest
--Siegfried's courting gift to Rosamund
CONTENT NOTES(?): Leopold is someone who is partial to tumbling any willing woman and liable to “take liberties” if allowed to. / Another couple talks about seducing each other.
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: A male character is laughed at for being a virgin. /
Mild swearing / Non-graphic harm to animals
Character voices differentiated = Yes / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Accents = Sounded good to me / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual
I find her voice very soothing, which makes this a great "comfort listen."
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As always Mercedes Lackey has delivered another great book. Full of adventure, romance, and magic. No greater mix.
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Where the other books in this series tended to re-tell one particular story, this one had cameos of several different ones. I found this to be the funniest one in the series . Hated for it to end. Loved it!!
Very talented narrator, pleasing voices to a great story! Mercedes Lackey never fails to deliver.
I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fantasy and fairy tales with a twist. I'm glad I read Fairy Godmother first. I believe it was intended to be the first of the 500 Kingdoms series. There is information expltained in that tale that is alluded to in thîs
I love the way Mercedes Lackey twist and reinvents the fairy tales so that they are both fresher and deeper. Start with Fairy Godmother and read in order of publication if you want to see the world of the 500 Kingdoms develop over the ongoing arc.