On the night before her birthday, she discovers that she is the victim of a curse, which means she will die when she turns 16. With the help of her best friend’s grandmother, a practitioner of Hoo Doo magic, the curse is altered slightly, with Briar Rose instead falling into a deep sleep.
While unconscious, Briar finds herself transported to a dark, twisted fairytale. To wake in the real world, she must survive in this dangerous land and help a handsome prince to claim his princess. Can Briar Rose survive the dangers of her dreams to return to her family and friends?
This dark fairytale novel is part fantasy adventure and part romance. There are classic fairytale elements present – handsome prince, the search for true love, a village suppressed and in fear under the rule of a wicked regent, a beautiful princess enslaved by an evil enchantment, and numerous references to evil spirits and curses - as well as family dramas, friendship and some everyday teenage relationship issues (including some sexual references).
The plot of Briar Rose is detailed, although reasonably predictable thanks to the numerous fairytale clichés. I found myself with mixed feelings as I finished this book. I did enjoy it on a superficial level as a entertaining, light read with enough drama to keep pages turning. It was easier to suspend my need for logical consistency in the characters during the fairytale dream/nightmare section of the novel, however I found it harder to accept the awkward and unrealistic actions of several of the central characters in the real, even when taking the supernatural elements into account.
Overall I did enjoy Briar Rose as a light read and would recommend it for teens looking for a beach read/romance with a supernatural edge.
Title: Briar Rose
Author: Jana Oliver
Publisher: Macmillan, $16.99 RRP
Publication Date: 21 September 2013
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult