Traditionally the Thirteenth Fairy, enraged at not being invited to the royal christening of the infant princess, curses her to fall into a deep sleep on her sixteenth birthday, from which she will never wake. The royal family, including the beautiful and gentle princess, are made to suffer at the hands of a malicious and jealous witch. In Yolen’s Curse of the Thirteenth Fey retelling, however, readers get the fairy’s side of the story. The “thirteenth fairy” is actually the youngest in a family of fairies, all bound to the selfish royal family who use the fairies as performers for their own amusement. Unlike the rest of her clan, “The Shouting Fey”, Gorse is a shy and awkward bookworm. On the day of the princess’ christening, Gorse is late and in hurrying to the castle, falls down a hole into a cave, where she meets two banished fairy princes. In trying to save them all, she unwittingly unleashes the curse that created the legend of Sleeping Beauty. Perfect for fans of Robin McKinley’s Beauty or the fractured fairy tales of Gregory McGuire.
Fairy Tales Retold November 27, 2012