Bel Reviews: Jana Oliver's - "Briar Rose"

oliver_briar roseIf you can’t stand twisted fairy tale re-tellings, read no further, this is not the book for you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in the Demon Trappers Daughter series, so I didn’t quite know what to expect from this offering from Jana Oliver. I needn’t have been concerned. It rocks.


“For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She’s stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won’t let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who’s spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She’s tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she’s actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can’t do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she’s met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.”

This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is complete with evil mechanical creatures, the obligatory sleeping princess, and guys on horseback. However Briar is a Rose, not a shrinking violet. THANK GOODNESS!

I am finding that authors who allow their female lead characters to work with their male counterparts, rather than belittling them, seem more authentic, more relatable, and far stronger than their ball-busting sisters. Briar shares the glory with not only her best friend, Reena, but her three leading guys.

Some reviews compare this book to Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. To that I say, ‘Did we read the same books?’ There is re enactment in both books, and they’re set in the south. That’s about where the similarities end.

Dialogue is humorous, and the action is easy to picture. Romance is peppered throughout because it is a fairy tale after all. Pacing is steady and there is no sagging middle.

 A sweet escape for the first few weeks of the new term. Check it out.  

Paperback, 470 pages

Published September 12th 2013 by Macmillan Children’s Books


1447241096 (ISBN13: 9781447241096)

  • Fay Rayner

    Great Review Bel, I too am currently enjoying this book with hopes to finish it today, I’m also a big fan of the Demon Trappers Series

    • Thanks for the comment, Faye. I’m sure Bel will be delighted to hear from you! MDP

    • Belinda

      They’re two very different entities, but both are great in their own right. Glad you’re liking it as much as I did.

Keep in contact through the following social networks or via RSS feed:

  • Follow on Facebook
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Follow on Pinterest
  • Follow on Google+
  • Follow on GoodReads
  • Follow on Tumblr
  • Follow on LinkedIn
  • Follow on Keek
  • Follow on YouTube
  • Subscribe