I didn’t actually know what this book was really about going in. I knew it was a Sleeping Beauty retelling, and that Alix E. Harrow wrote it, and that was all I needed. So the actual premise was surprising and refreshing! There’s definitely a reason the title for this series of novellas is ‘Fractured Fables.’ Harrow notes in her afterword, she pitched this book to her editor as “I want to Spider-Verse some fairy-tales.” I mean, who can’t get behind that? Monsters, probably.
So this is a multiverse “retelling” of Sleeping Beauty where our main character is a chronically ill young woman, suffering from a genetic disease obviously inspired by the Sleeping Beauty curse, who gets pulled into the multiverse and meets a bunch of other versions of Sleeping Beauty. Our heroine, Zinnia, has always been pulled to the Sleeping Beauty story, and it turns out there’s a reason. She takes it upon herself to rescue other versions and also tries to find a way to end her own “curse”. It’s also neat that Zinnia is bisexual, and her best friend is a lesbian, and a bunch of the other Sleeping Beauties they meet are also queer. It was extremely playful and refreshing. The book is also peppered with fractured versions of the famous fairytale illustrations by Arthur Rackham, which lent it a creepy/kooky vibe that fit well with the playful nature of the story.
There wasn’t really anything particularly revolutionary about this, it was just a good time. Looking forward to checking in with Zinnia again in 2022.