I think anyone who’s around this blog even occasionally knows that I love retold fairy tales. There are so many fascinating and strange elements to fairy tales that modern authors can play around with. So what’s not to love in an urban fantasy about a girl who needs to wake a sleeping prince with a kiss? Pucker Up by R. A. Gates is a YA Fantasy that takes a fun spin on some old fairy tale tropes. Disclosure–the author is a friend and member of my writing group, but I promise an honest review anyway!
Pucker Up centers on Ivy, a reluctant witch who finds herself on a quest to wake up sleeping Prince Sebastian. Ivy lives in Salmagundi, the place of refuge for anyone with magic, hiding from the witch-hunting Eradicators. Unfortunately, the spells hiding the town are breaking down. Ivy’s cousin Thane believes the answer is to wake up Prince Sebastian, who created the spells to begin with. Ivy needs the reward money to pay a debt to a very angry werewolf. As a descendant of Sebastian’s true love, she should be able to wake him up with True Love’s kiss…except that she really doesn’t want to kiss a dead guy!
I always approve of heroines who set off to do things rather than waiting for a man to save the day, and I love the twist of a girl needing to wake up a prince instead of the other way around. Ivy is a fun, somewhat-reluctant heroine, with good mysteries in her past that kept me curious as I read. The book also keeps moving with a series of adventures on the journey to find the prince. We get a whole host of magical creatures, including vampires and werewolves and even dragons–like a cute baby dragon nicknamed Sparky.
There are serious moments, but overall there’s a light tone to the book. It’s frequently funny in a tongue-in-cheek way…as with the ongoing series of necrophilia jokes. I love retellings that are aware of the absurdities in their inspiration material.
When Ivy and Thane set off on their quest, they’re accompanied by Thane’s friend Garren, who Ivy finds immensely irritating. Don’t expect too many surprises in the romance department…but even if it’s a bit predictable, it’s fun to read. And there are more surprises in the plot.
This is the first book in a series, and with some twists in the ending, I’m excited to see where it goes in the next book! Alas, not published yet…
I think I’ll finish up by borrowing a line from Ivy’s dialogue on the last page–it’s not a spoiler, and I think it sums up the book nicely.
“Don’t even think you’re rescuing me. I’m no damsel in distress.”
Author’s Site: http://ragates.com/