About the Book

Title: Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer
Published: 2011

Cover Story: Brown Bag It
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Option A: Lords and Ladies; or Option B: The Mall?
Bonus Factor: Vampire Slayer, Fairy Tales
Anti-Bonus Factor: Supporting Cast, The Landing
Relationship Status: Cheesy Pickup Line That I Went On A Date With

Cover Story: Brown Bag It

A Dianna Agron lookalike in a hooded cloak, wielding a stake, against a backdrop of a moon so bright that it kind of looks like daytime? And hello, it’s named Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer. Break out ALL THE BROWN BAGS.

The Deal:

Um, did you not see the title? Pretty self-explanatory.

OK FINE. Once upon a time in the kingdom of Xandra, the princess Lucette is cursed by Queen Natasha of vampiric Sanguinia. With a prick of her finger, Lucette is cursed to deep slumber during the day, while the rest of Xandra is cursed to fall asleep at dusk. Secretly trained as a vampire slayer, Lucette protects her kingdom while trying to break the spell that imprisons them all.

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

On paper, I should probably like Lucette. (Well, it’s all on paper, but you know what I mean.) She’s pretty courageous, especially for someone who’s lived in almost-literally a protective bubble. Although she’s no damsel-in-distress, it’s a missed opportunity to not have Lucette be more of a feminist in a seriously patriarchal society. Guess I just expect more awesome out of my vampire slayers.

Swoonworthy Scale: 0

Y’all. I swoon VERY EASILY, so it’s pretty telling when a book that should have swoon doesn’t even register.

Enter Alex and Tristan, aka the only characters Lucette’s age and therefore her potential love interests. Tristan is her childhood crush from Vampire Slayer Academy (I know) and Alex is her partner on vampire patrol. You will surely be shocked that one of them is a vampire, because that’s never happened before. But there IS a refreshing lack of insta-love with the vampire, and it’s actually the human who reminds me of Edward Cullen. (I.e.. watching Lucette sleep. Even though she is Sleeping Beauty, it’s still a little creepy.)

On the one hand, Alex’s strongest argument for winning over Lucette is her dire lack of viable alternatives. And then there’s Tristan, who blows off Lucette’s schoolgirl crush, only to be reminded of his supposed feelings for her when they’re reunited (and she’s grown into her looks). Ostensibly, there’s a choice between the two suitors (for which I chose TERRIBLY), but sadly the Kelly Taylor special is not on the menu.

Talky Talk: Option A: Lords and Ladies; or Option B: The Mall?

When I picked up this book, I had no idea that it’s in the format of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-but-not-for-probable-copyright-infringement, and y’all KNOW we love CYOA around here. There are eight possible versions of this story. While I didn’t go through all of them, it’s still super impressive for continuity alone.

(On a totally philosophical tangent: each fork-in-the-road leads Lucette down different paths, only to converge again at the exact same choice. Obvs, this is done for practicality, rather than subconscious commentary on free will versus determinism. But this is the kind of thing I think about.)

ANYWAY. Less impressive is this book’s style. (I also had issues with the pacing, which I’ll discuss later.) It’s set it Fairy Tale Land, so there’s lofty and regal language. But the story also borrows a lot of modern concepts and phrases, and the younger characters only seem fluent in contemporary speak. I’m fine with either way, but just PICK ONE and be consistent!

Bonus Factor: Vampire Slayer

Buffy Summers holding a bloodied knife above her head


Bonus Factor: Fairy Tales

Artistic drawing of colorful fairy tale characters all piled together

I can’t earnestly put Sleeping Beauty as a bonus factor, because it was always one of my least favourite fairy tales. (Doesn’t mean I didn’t wear the shizz out of that VHS, though.) A heroine who’s unconscious for all the exciting parts? NO THX. And the blue faerie is annoying as shizz.* But props for the twist on the sleeping curse that still allows the heroine to be an active participant in her own story.

*Clearly, I’ve never bothered to learn more about Sleeping Beauty than what The Mouse taught me.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Supporting Cast

Originally, I was going to to hand out some Dan Scotts for Lucette’s parents: mom’s a vampire bigot, and dad’s overprotective to the point of imprisoning his own daughter*. But then I realized that I kind of disliked everyone? They each pull at least one douche move, and most of them are also guilty of some casual misogyny.

*Plus, he only wants her pretty li’l head to worry about avoiding pricks and falling in love. Which sounds much more reasonable out of context.

Anti-Bonus Factor: The Landing

As I was nearing the end, I kept thinking, “OK, book. Here’s your opening; make a graceful exit already!” But the pages kept dwindling while more superfluous ‘twists’ were introduced. I’m all for tying up loose ends, but not at the expense of rushing through storylines because the book is too front loaded.

Relationship Status: Cheesy Pickup Line That I Went On A Date With

Book, your silly premise intrigued me enough for a date, but let’s be real. In the words of many a reality TV contestant, I wasn’t here for the right reasons. Best case, I’d be pleasantly surprised; worst case, I’d be inspired for a slambook entry. You’re somewhere in between, or right around what should be expected from a book called Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought my review copy from a library sale. I received neither money nor gelato for writing this review (dammit!). Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she oversaw all things FYA Book Club from 2013 to 2023.