Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, by Maureen McGowen
Life is hard for Lucette (aka Sleeping Beauty). The curse placed on her by the evil vampire queen Natasha makes is so she can only be awake at night, while the rest of the kingdom magically sleeps. She is having trouble choosing between the cute boy who taught her to be a slayer, and her best friend who is, in fact, a vampire. Her parents are getting a divorce. And to top it all off, her over-protective father insists on keeping her in a glass coffin all day so that her suitors can watch her sleep. After all, she needs to find true love to break the curse.
If that sounds a little creepy to you, you’re not alone. As I read Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, I was often struck by the absurdity of certain plot points, and the strange, vaguely abusive, lengths to which her father would go in order to protect her from the curse. It felt at time like the author was contorting the story into odd shapes in an effort to include elements of the original fairy tale. I am in favor of adapting the old fairy tales for young audiences, and I am a huge fan of the Pride & Prejudice and Zombies genre. While Vampire Slayer is a clever idea, it felt stretched and shallow.
I wanted to like Vampire Slayer because it is part of the growing wave of choose-your-own-adventure novels recently making a comeback. Unfortunately, all eight of the paths the reader can choose to take will lead to the same conclusion. When I read a choose-your-own-adventure I like at least one or two of my choices to lead to funny surprises or untimely ends. I think McGowen underestimates her readers a little. She gives too many transparent hints and explains too many plot twists. That said, because the writing has that high/low quality (high interest/low level) this book will be a good choice for struggling or reluctant readers. Vampire Slayer, and the other books still to come in the series (Cinderella: Ninja Warrior) are going to do well with the tween girls who love princess. And one must admire a book in which the damsel in distress escapes from her glass case at night to kick a little vampire butt.