Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Wide-Awake Princess by E. D. Baker

The Wide-Awake Princess, by E. D. Baker
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 272
Received: Library book
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Author's Page
Amazon Page
We all know the story of Gwen: When she was born, her parents made a little mistake with the guest list, which led to the ticking off of a bad fairy, which led to the prick-her-finger-on-a-spinning-wheel-and-sleep-for-100-years curse. Such a curse adds a lot of stress, not to mention all the work involved in keeping a kingdom spinning-wheel free. So when Annie was born, her parents begged a good fairy to find a way to protect their second daughter from similar curses. With a wave of her wand, the good fairy makes Annie immune to magic. Since this also has the effect of dampening all magic used around Annie, her parents are a little put out when their own magically-enhanced beauty and charms fade whenever Annie is around. Still, she's safe, and as long as she stands far away from her family, Annie's gift has little effect.

Life is fairly ho-hum for Annie until Gwen manages to get her hands on a spinning wheel on her 16th birthday and the kingdom-sleeps-for-100-years curse is set in motion. Everyone in the castle drops instantly into sleep, all except, of course, Annie. Never one to wait around for someone else to fix things for her, Annie sets out on a mission to find a prince to kiss her sister and end the curse. But which prince is her sister's true love? There's no way of knowing, so Annie sends every prince she finds back to her family's castle. Every prince she finds, however, seems to already be embroiled in his own quest or sticky situation, so Annie must first help with these various deeds and debacles.


I really enjoyed this story! Annie is a great character from start to finish and would make a good role model for the intended audience. She's kind, has a good sense of humor, does things for herself, is smart, and is still girly. Too often authors seem to think that the only way to make a strong female character is to make her this tough, hard-hearted warrior or tomboy. Annie manages to be a strong girl while still remaining feminine and harboring a crush on her body guard/companion.

Liam (the bodyguard) is also a strong and admirable character in his own right. This is appreciated, as another pitfall authors often fall into when making strong female characters is diminishing the male characters to accomplish a false strength-by-comparison. He's also a pretty likable guy. The other characters were less fleshed out and more caricatures, but they were appropriately humorous, likable, despicable, annoying, etc.

As a fairy tale retelling, The Wide-Awake Princess excels. The original elements of a number of fairy tales are woven together in a way that both pays homage to the original tales while also turning them on their heads in fun an inventive ways. Annie's ability to deflect and dampen magic is an ingenious twist that made for countless entertaining scenes and possibilities. Given how pervasive magic is in fantasy and fairy tale stories, these scenes felt especially fresh and humorous. For fans of humorous fractured fairy tales, fairy tale retellings, off-beat princesses, and light fantasy, The Wide-Awake Princess is a must have on the To Be Read list. 

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key  


  1. This is becoming a common theme in quite a few books lately. I've seen one about Little Red Riding Hood, Toto - Wizard of Oz, Cinderella "Cinders" and now this one. Wow!

  2. Fairy tale retellings? Oh yeah, there are a ton. I went on a kick of them a few months back and there were so many to choose from. I haven't seen a Wizard of Oz one though. Do you remember the title or recommend it?

  3. Oh my goodness! I would love this! Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie and I love when classic stories like that get told with a twist :) Thanks for the review~And thank you for participating in my Thanks 4 Giving Giveaway!

    Ashlie @ Bookish Novelties

  4. Sounds fun! Good to hear about a fairy tale retelling that is manages to be inventive and not too similar to the original story.

  5. Ashlie- Disney's Sleeping Beauty is *my* favorite movie! :)

    Ashlie and Aylee, I read a whole bunch of really great fairy tale retellings this year. I think I'll have to make a post soon about them.

  6. Great idea. I would love that!

  7. I just found this book at the bookstore and have vowed to read it! Haha! It looks amazing - thanks for the positive review! :)

  8. Yearning to Read, haha, I hope you enjoy it!

  9. Sounds like a really good book! I will try it!:D

  10. What the heck, I thought I commented on this before lol. I'm adding it to my TBR pile!

  11. :) I hope you like it! I didn't like her other (more popular) book The Frog Princess so hopefully your library sends the right book! :P

  12. I don't think I would have given this book a chance because of it's younger looking cover but am putting it on the TBR pile with that great review!

  13. Scarlett, I hope you like it! It's a cute, sweet story. :)


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