Twisted Tales: Once Upon a Dream

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Twisted Tales: Once Upon a Dream

by Liz Braswell

“It’s not bravery if you don’t feel fear, right? If you’re not afraid, then you’re not really forcing yourself to do something brave.” 



We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty. She’s cursed, lives with fairies for 16 years, pricks her finger on a spinning wheel anyways and falls asleep then wakes up from true love’s kiss. But what if it hadn’t happened like that? What if the Princess Aurora didn’t wake up when Prince Phillip kissed her? What if he had fallen asleep as well?


This book takes you down a different road, into the mind of the sleeping Aurora who has been trapped by Maleficent. In this dream world, she believes her parents and the three fairies were the evil ones, and that Maleficent herself saved the kingdom. She truly believes that this world is the real one, until suddenly, things just don’t add up (literally, she can’t even do simple math in there. Nobody can in dreams). When she finally sees who Maleficent really is, she escapes to the forest. Here she finds Prince Phillip valiantly trying to save her and they head to the Woodcutter’s cottage, hoping that something there will tell them how to get out.



While this was a very intriguing concept, and one that would be a fun spin off from the original fairytale, it made my head hurt for the first 3/4 of the book. There was a lot of twists and turns in Aurora’s mind, and it felt a little like the movie “Inception” for a while. I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. Should’ve taken a top.


That being said, I did enjoy the last quarter of the book, as it tied things together, even things we hadn’t seen in the film. It also dealt with the effects of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Liz Braswell gave the reader a very sensitive but pretty accurate description of what depression is really like. I live with someone who has depression and it’s hard to tell from the outside what is going on in their head. But to them, it’s overpowering. This book really helps you get a glimpse of what it might be like.

So, my opinion is that if you can make it through the first half of the book without going cross-eyed, and you enjoy a darker twist on fairytales, this is the book for you! As for me, I don’t think it’ll be going on my to-read again shelf.

Age Group: 16+

Content Concerns: Depression, suicidal thoughts, violence, imprisonment

Language: 1/10 Somewhat mild.

D**n p. 5, 111

Lord’s name in vain p. 143, 144, 202 (there might have been more)

Violence/Gore:6/10 Fairly violent and descriptive. Definitely for a more mature audience (16+ like I said)

p. 95-97 Descriptive moment of a woman being stabbed and her blood being used in a ritual

p. 103-106 A character flees and gets slightly injured.

p. 109-111 A character dies (fairly descriptive)

p. 174-175 Characters nearly fall into a gorge

p. 196-202 Characters are deceived and then attacked.

p. 224-228 A character’s throat bleeds from singing too long. Another character is killed.

p. 256-260 A character is killed.

p. 280, 285-286 Characters duel and one is killed.

p. 287 Small description of dead bodies

p.297-299 A young character is attacked by the heroes (this character is part of Aurora’s mind, not real)

p. 305-319 This portion deals with depression, talk of attempted suicide (very light). Characters also fight and one (not real) gets pinned down by a tree.

p. 318-321 A description of two more deaths.

p. 374-418 This is the final battle scenes and for the most part is not too descriptive. However, several characters die including three main characters (though we understand later that they were not real either, but part of Aurora’s mind)

p. 422, 425-426, 429-431 The pages all have descriptions of death and the people who mourn them. A little bit descriptive.

Sexual Content: 1/10 Not anything you have to really worry about.

p. 170 Romantic moment

p. 229 Two characters lie down together with a sword between them (talk of chastity being kept safe

p. 440 A kiss


Check out more Twisted Tales!

3 thoughts on “Twisted Tales: Once Upon a Dream

    1. Yeah, it made my head hurt halfway through and I had to put it down for a day. If she could have labelled the chapters with “this is real” and “this isn’t real” or “this isn’t real either but it’s “not real” inside the “not real” world” that would have been great… 😆

      Liked by 1 person

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