Another day, another fairy tale book! This one starts off as a take off on Sleeping Beauty, but ends up covering so much more.
In a land where all Royals are bequeathed with magical gifts at birth, Princess Gwendolyn is the prettiest, charmingest, and all around best princess of them all. But a jealous fairy cursed her as well, proclaiming that by her 16th birthday, the princess would prick her finger on a spindle and die. While her parents banished spinning wheels from the kingdom, when their second daughter, Annabelle, was born, they weren't going to take any chances and asked a fairy to protect her from evil spells. So Annabelle was gifted with a lack of magic - she has no magical enhancements, enchantments won't work on her, and she even diminishes the effects of magic on those around her - which certainly doesn't endear her to the women with magical beauty (including her mother!).
When a rogue spinning wheel makes it into the castle on Gwendolyn's birthday, the curse falls into place, only thanks to another fairy the punishment is lessened from death to 100 years of sleeping for Gwendolyn and the castle's inhabitants, to be ended only by the kiss of Gwendolyn's true love. Of course, the spell doesn't work on Annabelle, so it's up to her and one of the castle guards who'd been out of the gates on an errand, to track down Gwendolyn's love and save the day.
This is great fun for anyone who's a fan of fairy tales in general, as during their journey Annie and Liam stumble across a boatload of other fairy tale and mythological characters, from kelpies to Hansel and Gretel to Rapunzel.
Annabelle is up there with Poppy for the title of "Awesomest Princess Ever." Annie spends a significant chunk of the story on her own before Liam shows up, and he's truly the sidekick, often relying on Annie's common sense and lack-of-magic to get the job done. The fairy who bestows this gift upon Annie says she'll have to rely on her own natural charm, which luckily Annie has in spades.
Also? I love this cover. I don't know why, but I think it's brilliant.