The Awakened Prince: A Sleeping Beauty Retelling by Alora Carter (Once Upon a Prince book 11)
A failure of a prince. A guardian maiden. A long-ago contract destined to keep them apart.
No matter how hard he tries, Killian can do nothing right in the eyes of his widowed father. In an attempt to escape the expectations of being the prince, he sneaks through the gate that has separated his kingdom from the magical forest for as long as he can remember. There he finds the most beautiful maiden he’s ever seen. More than that, she doesn’t treat him as a prince. But he can’t fall for her; he’s betrothed and his father won’t let him break the contract.
Raela lives a simple life in the forest, where she uses her magic to help the plants grow and keep the fairy circles from forming. Despite the warnings from her aunties, she forges a friendship with the mysterious man who stumbled upon her meadow.
Killian is determined to run away to marry Raela. After all, there’s another, better heir who can take the throne. And the princess he’s betrothed to hasn’t been seen in eighteen years. But as soon as he sets his plan in motion, everything falls to ruin, and Killian and Raela must fight their way back to each other against everything they ever thought was true.
“Perfect isn’t only impossible, it’s fragile…Perfect can only be said of fine porcelain teacups.”
I related so much to Killian. The need to be perfect, to live up to the expectations of others is a real battle that can force you to seek a hidden place of escape. I love books with language barriers, and Carter actually created a whole new language for this, which is incredible! I think a bit of magic was used to help get past the language trouble, but it fit the story.
The romance between these two was so sweet. Killian starts off enamored by her beauty, but soon comes to appreciate her for who she is. The book gives a deeper look at many familiar elements, which I really enjoyed.
The latter part of the story gets a bit dark with fighting monsters as well as depression.
Some injuries, etc, during battle scenes, but nothing gory.
A few kisses