Book Review: Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

What this book is about: 

This twist on Sleeping Beauty gives the story a dark, yet beautiful, edge. On Becca’s last visit to her dying Gemma (grandma) is tasked with finding Gemma’s castle. Always a fan of Gemma’s telling of Sleeping Beauty, Becca channels her grief into trying to uncover the mystery of her grandmother’s past. No one knows where she came from. No one knows how she got to the United States. Gemma insisted her name was Briar Rose. The bight tale of Sleeping Beauty is twisted together with the dark tale of the Holocaust.

What I liked: 

This book did take some time to grab me, but as the story went, its depth pulled me in. For such a short novel, it is powerful and its roots run deep. The twisting together of the seemingly diametrically opposed stories works out in an unexpected and breath-taking way at the end. When I put it down, I was sad the book was over.

What I didn’t like:

Becca never quite grabbed me. Her older sisters seemed more like the sisters from Cinderella than anything else, and felt very two-dimensional. Even Becca didn’t seem overly developed and I found myself disappointed in the characterization.

Overall thoughts and opinions: 

This is a MUST. READ.

Even with the weak characters and slow beginning, the end is such a punch that it’s hard to recover from. The ending is set up so beautifully from the beginning, the writing simply masterful in that way, it is a book that grabs hold and refuses to let go.

I give Briar Rose five stars.

5 star rating

Learn more about the book and the author.