Were I about 18 years younger, I would have absolutely adored this book with every single piece of my being. With its beautiful storytelling, captivating characters, gorgeous artwork, and rather unbelievable conveniences Sleeping Beauty both illustrated and written by Karina is pretty perfect for young me. In the strangest of ways, it actually takes me back to a few months ago in which I was finally fully reading the Sailor Moon Manga for the first time in an act of nostalgia. Though, of course, there are a lot of sweeping differences. But I have to say that the man in white, without a doubt, reminds me uncannily of Tuxedo Mask. Only, this guy seems to know a lot more about what’s going on than Mamoru ever did. With that said, I think a large part of the reason why I find myself stuck on this idea that this book would have been perfect for a younger me–and though I am referring to my eight-year-old self, keep in mind that I was quite the advanced reader at the time–is due to the fact that this graphic novel, while amazing, is just a little too far-reaching for me now.
I feel like there was a lot of potential for Sleeping Beauty to be a level of perfection that I just didn’t know I desperately needed from a graphic novel. Unfortunately, it was really only surface level good. For starters, it’s blatantly obvious who the man in white is, though I don’t necessarily know if this is a bad thing. What is bad, however, is the fact that he seems to have a lot of extensive knowledge about a curse that no one seems to be aware of aside from the old man who owns the theater, with no explanation as to how. His entire demeanor regarding the situation just feels too easily attained. Granted, it becomes clear later why he might have this information, but the story simply did not flow well around it.
Sleeping Beauty wakes quite early in the novel, and thus Oxana struggles to find her place in a time period that is not her own. Those helping her are incredibly sweet, but Leonide’s aloofness leaves me feeling as though the connection he should have with Oxana is non-existent, or at the very least extremely paltry in comparison to what it could be. I wish there had been more time spent on building a relationship between these two characters that didn’t leave me feeling as though they barely know each other, despite the obvious preparation for the two of them to consider each other love interests.
Aside from those small complaints, I did really enjoy Sleeping Beauty overall. And I can guarantee, had I read it when I was young, this would likely be an incredibly beloved story that I would hold very dear to my heart, rereading over and over in spite of the fact that, as an adult, I now don’t consider it as amazing as I once did. As it stands, I do look forward to getting my hands on the next installment as this one did end on somewhat of a cliffhanger. Frankly, I really wanted to know what happens in the end.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.