• Nina Clare

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey : The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty (2013) by Jane Yolen

Updated: Jul 10

The Shouting Fey are the last surviving members of their race. 13-year-old Gorse is the youngest of the family, with a wise and studious Elven father and a fierce Fey mother. Amidst her eccentric and rough-and-tumble family, there are vague hopes that Gorse might be ‘The One’: a long hoped for child who will fulfil an old prophecy to save their ancient race, but thus far, Gorse shows no propensity for being a heroine.

The Fey family is under oath to do the Royal Bidding of the mortal king, so when a princess is born, they are all Bid to come and bestow magical gifts on the new baby. But Gorse runs into a few problems on the way…

These few problems include falling into the hostile underground Unseelie Court and kept captive by an unscrupulous prince and his henchman. Trapped into making an unbreakable oath, Gorse must negotiate the prince's glamours and tricks, and use her ingenuity and Shouting gift to try and escape an impossible situation. If she fails, not only will she explode into a thousand stars, but her family will fail to fulfil the Royal Bidding, with dire consequences. Instead of being destined to be a saviour, Gorse seems doomed to bring destruction on everyone she loves.

Family secrets are revealed, stories of lost loves are told, and the consequences of curses and binding oaths all unfold in this alternative retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story. And, yes, there is a magic spindle involved! A fun middle-grade fantasy that has enough depth for a YA reader to enjoy.