Monday, June 28, 2010

A Kiss In Time - Alex Flinn

Title: A Kiss In Time
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: Harper Teen, 2010 (Paperback)
Length: 371 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy, Fairy Tale
Started: June 24, 2010
Finished: June 28, 2010

From the author's website:
Talia fell under a spell…
Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger’s soft kiss.

I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

I picked this up at a publisher's preview night, and after reading Beastly (by the same author) and finding out that this was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I was sold. Luckily for me, my positive opinion of Beastly extends to A Kiss In Time.

I think what worked well for this story was that instead of retelling Sleeping Beauty the way we're used to, A Kiss In Time is mostly concerned with what happens after she's awakened, especially if she were to be awakened in modern times. Talia is the princess of Euphrasia, a little-known kingdom bordered by Belgium. Like all princesses, she longs to be able to exert her own authority over her life rather than be subject to her parents' whims. She's also been warned about the whole spindle thing, a curse put upon her at her birth by a malevolent fairy. She pricks her finger anyway (you all know the story), and falls asleep till awakened by true love's first kiss. Over three hundred years go by, and Talia continues to sleep. When he escapes from a bus tour through Belgium, seventeen-year-old Jack stumbles upon the sleeping kingdom and its princess. Overcome by love for the strange girl, he kisses her. Talia awakes, as does her kingdom. That's where the fun begins. Talia's parents are shocked at their current circumstances and blame Talia for putting them in such a mess, she enlists Jack's help to escape and returns home to Florida with him. She transforms his family life, and both of them realize that neither one of them has it any better than the other, that they both suffer the same problems in life. Although love blossoms between them, Talia's curse is not quite broken, and Jack has to look inside himself to see if he loves her enough to save her.

I found this book funnier than it was probably intended to be. Talia and Jack are wonderful together, and the early parts of the book when he's introducing her to modern life was hilarious, especially her comments on body image and modern female clothing. Try explaining to a 17th century girl that just because you hear someone's voice from a phone, that doesn't mean they're trapped inside it; again, hilarious. I also loved Talia's commentary on Jack's family life, how people nowadays can live together and know nothing about each other because we have so many other things to distract us from really knowing each other. Like she says, in her time, they didn't have tv, the only thing to do was have polite conversation. It's amazing how much she transforms Jack's family over such a short time simply because she has a different perspective on things and isn't afraid to voice what she observes. Another thing I love is how this isn't a typical princess story, Talia shows that being one isn't about always getting your way and being spoiled. For little girls raised on Disney Princesses and being spoiled by mommy and daddy, it's refreshing to see a princess character show that a real princess is polite, intelligent, diplomatic, and kind. I think the only complaint I have about the book was that it was very easy to see how Jack could love Talia based on her interactions with him, she changes him for the better, it would be kinda hard not to. On the other hand, Talia essentially tells readers that she loves Jack, we don't really get to see how she goes from using him as a means to an end to loving him, it just happens all of a sudden. It kind of surprised me because Talia is such a focus of the book, Jack feels secondary, so it felt weird that all parts of her character would be explored and fleshed out except the love aspect. All in all, it was a really enjoyable read; and the author is bringing out another fairy tale adaptation next year which will also be on my to-read list.

If you're a fan of fractured fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, read this!

Thoughts on the cover:
This cover follows Beastly's: a solid colour cover with a title and a flower above it. It worked for Beastly because the rose is significant in Beauty and the Beast, but for A Kiss In Time, the flower thing really doesn't jive. I like how they made the covers a set, almost as if the two books were parts in a series, but for this story it doesn't really make sense like with Beastly's cover. There is another cover circulating (see below) which seems to be the more visible one (perhaps ours is a Canada-only cover and the other is a US one), and out of the two, I like the latter, but I still think the covers could be more impressive than they are.

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