DNF Review: Once Upon a Dream

once upon a dream
Once Upon a Dream (Twisted Tales #2) by Liz Braswell
Publication date: 05.04.2016

Genre: Retelling, YA 
Rating: DNF


Synopsis: What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over. With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?


My first DNF of 2016. Another milestone reached. I know that many bloggers did not like the first book in this series,  A Whole New World. I actually did, maybe because Aladdin is one of my all-time favorite animated movies/stories? I love Aladdin. I don’t have that attachment to Aurora, or Sleeping Beauty though. 

From the first few pages, I knew this book wasn’t for me. There’s just something about the tone of a book that immediately tells you whether you’ll like it or not. But I didn’t want to give up yet, because I’m always so grateful I get a review copy. So I don’t want to let anyone down. However, at 31% I decided to quit reading. Here’s why. 

Characters are incredibly important to me. Without a good or interesting main character, a story is lost to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t like Aurora, the main character. I was just so incredibly bored by her. She doesn’t do anything but dance in hallways, sleep, lie in bed and ask herself questions. She doesn’t actually DO anything. And it seems like she doesn’t take initiative ever. She either lies in her bed thinking/dreaming or is acting on someone else’s request. For example: her aunt will ask her to do something. So she does. And that’s it. At times, I felt like she was depressed? Not getting out of bed all day, not feeling up to doing anything, having so many questions going through her head.. Why did no one help her? 

Here’s a quote so you’ll understand: 

There was also the little matter that when she wasn’t twirling, her favorite thing was lying down and dreaming the hours away.

How riveting. Aside from that, the sentence just doesn’t quite make sense to me? I don’t know. 

Another issue I had with Aurora is that she’s supposed to be around 16 years old in the story? Yet she lacks basic skills, in pretty much everything. For example, math. I know we are not all math geniuses. I’m definitely not. But I’m not stupid! Here’s an example:

Aurora drew a tiny ugly scribble of a sheep. Then she drew four more. She counted them. There were five. She drew two more, farther away. Now there were six. 

Wait. WHAT? Five plus two does NOT equal six! I am so confused at this point. She’s obviously not smart (sorry, but if you can’t do that at 16…), she’s not particularly brave, daring or interesting in any way. I just didn’t like her. Another quote: 

Sometimes she would spend a whole afternoon watching lazy little motes of dust doing their slow dances in the golden light like lazy, otherworldly fairies.

So she stares at dust the entire afternoon? Okay…

Up until now, I didn’t like Aurora, but I figured I’d give the story a try anyway. After a certain point, I was so confused. I didn’t know which timeline was the present, and it all seemed so jumbled. I couldn’t keep what was happening straight! Looking back on it, the answer to the first 30% of the book is in the synopsis (which I didn’t really read). So even the mystery of that would be lost to you if you read the synopsis first. After I figured it out on my own (sorry synopsis), I just had this feeling that I knew where the story was going. And I wasn’t intrigued enough to stick to it. 

Here’s a last quote, to show you at which point I kind of had enough. 

In his own territory, he certainly had more swagger and braggadocio.

Swagger. Braggadocio. I’m out, people. I’m too old to be on board with this language (I’m 21 by the way). 

The story wasn’t captivating enough to overcome the issues I was having with the main character. This is obviously a personal taste and preference, so I’m certainly not saying no one should pick up this book. I’m just saying it wasn’t for me. 

Review: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell

a whole new world

Novel: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell
Release date: September 1st, 2015 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Retelling -young adult
Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads | Bookdepository -affiliate link

I received this book from the publisher -via Netgalley- in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are completely my own.

Synopsis: When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.


“Don’t let life’s unfairness, don’t let how poor you are decide who you are. You choose who you will be, Aladdin.”

“It was the right thing to do, of course. Save the pretty girl, take the pretty girl home. Refuse the reward. All right, maybe take the reward. If there was a reward. Wasn’t there usually a reward?”


Last week, I got approved for this book on Netgalley. I was so excited, I started reading almost immediately! An Aladdin retelling? Yes please. And while I did enjoy this read, it wasn’t as mind-blowing as I’d hoped it to be. 


Obviously, when the book starts out it follows the plot of the Aladdin tale we all know so well -I think we all do at least. I was a bit surprised though to see for how long it closely followed the original tale. I was reading it on the Kindle app, and only at around the 20% mark, the tale started to twist.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the complete turn-around of the story! It was so interesting to see how one little change in the tale could bring on an entirely different Agrabah. Everything was quite well thought out. How Jafar takes the lamp, and everything he does onwards seemed really in character for him -both for the Jafar in this story and the one in the Disney movie. He had his whole rule thought out -even though they were the thoughts of an utterly crazy person.

And of course, Aladdin can’t just let Agrabah be taken over. The rebellion they start was so much fun! I really enjoyed reading about the well-organized band of thieves. From the 70% mark, I was glued to my screen. I mean, I enjoyed the book before that mark as well but after that, it just got so suspenseful and exciting. 

I do have to admit that I predicted the ending. It’s definitely not an unpredictable story, but no less enjoyable because of it I’d say.


Let’s start with the characters we all know: Aladdin, Abu, Jasmine, Jafar, the genie and Iago.

First of all, let me just say that I was highly disappointed by the lack of Iago in this story. He was my FAVORITE character in the movie -let’s be honest, I laughed so hard every time he said something. I do have much more respect for the Jasmine in this story than in the original movie. Why, you ask? Well, here she is not just a helpless princess who needs Aladdin to save her. She wants her throne back, and she’ll take it! Yes, she still had some character flaws -but who doesn’t? I liked Aladdin just as much as in the movie -I don’t think his character is all that different- and despised Jafar even more here -SO EVIL. And I still felt bad for the genie, even more so than in the movie. He’s also far less present. 

But what I loved most about this retelling is that addition of so many intriguing side characters. You can’t start a rebellion on your own after all. I don’t really want to say much more about them, because I feel like that would spoil the story a bit. But there are much more family dynamics in this story -whether it is family by blood or by choice. 


I’d definitely recommend this book, especially to fans of the original Aladdin story. While it is quite predictable -and not as mind-blowing as I had expected because of that- I really did enjoy it. I do think I will check out the next Twisted Tale when that one gets released.