Review: A Kiss in Time

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn is one of several "Sleeping Beauty" adaptations that was recommended to me from the last adaptation I reviewed before moving into my new castle. You might say I was "sleeping" on the recommendations (queue the crickets). This book stood out to me because it sounded similar to the Fae Bloodlines duology that I just completed and loved. Both books are about a princess from a magical medieval world who falls in love with a modern-day teenage boy from our world. Fae Away is a better book overall with a deeper and more fulfilling love story. Still, A Kiss in Time is not without its charm. It's a fun and easy read that would appeal to younger readers than most of the other books I review and would be perfect for middle schoolers who want to get an early start on YA fiction.

A Kiss in Time by Alex Finn

This book begins just like "Sleeping Beauty." A princess named Talia is cursed to prick her finger on a spindle before she turns 16 and take the entire kingdom with her into a long sleep until she is awakened by true love's kiss. Three hundred years later, we meet Jack, your average modern teen boy who can't stand his parents and has no idea what he wants to do with his life. Jack discovers Talia's kingdom when he sneaks away from a European tour group that his parents forced him on for his summer vacation. He and his friend Travis react to the sleeping kingdom like most immature boys would. Travis wants to steal some of the crowns because the guards are all unconscious. He also makes lewd jokes to Jack about the sleeping maiden. Jack is annoyed by Travis's prodding, but he finds himself drawn to Talia and decides to kiss her. He doesn't expect her and the rest of the kingdom to spring to life the next the moment and soon gets thrown in the dungeon, where Talia propositions to run away with him.

This is a lighthearted story, and as such, there are of things in it that don't make sense if you think about them too hard. For instance, Disney and fairy tales exist in this world, but no one realizes that they are living out a well-known fairy tale. In fact, Jack thinks of Snow White as soon as he sees Talia, but never seems aware of the story of "Sleeping Beauty" or how freakishly similar it is to Talia's life. That may be because it would break the delicate suspension of disbelief the author created by adapting a well-known fairy tale into the real world, but it still feels like a plot hole. Though I don't want to spoil the ending, I also think the solution that Talia's father comes up with to bring Euphrasia into the 21st century during the resolution of the story feels a little like a dystopian nightmare.

The middle portion of the book is so realistic to the point that it sucks a lot of the fun out of the fantasy elements of the story. In films like Enchanted where the princess is brought into the real world, she usually takes some of the magic from her world with her. This book lacked that balance between magic and technology.  Jack gets into trouble with his promiscuous ex-girlfriend for running off with Talia, and Talia almost gets sexually assaulted at a wild teen party. Despite this risqué situation, the book comes off like it is written for pre-teens. Both Jack and Talia are extremely immature for their ages, which that is one of the reasons they get along so well. Jack teaches Talia not to worry so much about everything , while Talia teaches Jack how to listen to other people and wins his family over with her charms. Despite their faults, I found it refreshing to read about a fairy tale princess who knows she's beautiful.

This book isn't short, but it is a light and easy read. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick escape. Fans of other time travel princess stories like Find Me in Paris would probably love it. Even with the risqué promiscuous teen party, I think it's a good option for younger readers who want to break into the fairy tale adaptation genre. The romance is cute and light, and it was fun to see the characters gain more maturity and insight over the course of the story. In the end, Talia comes to terms with the fact that she and Jack are not ready for marriage yet, but that doesn't mean they're not ready for love.

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