This short story opens with about as classic a “Sleeping Beauty: Chapter 1” as you could wish, with the interesting trait of being written from the viewpoint of the infant princess being christened (Liesel).
Chapter 2 rips us from the fairy-tale world “played straight” and shoves us into a sci-fi world, in the head of an imprisoned girl who shares the name but none of the memories (apparently) of the Sleeping Beauty princess. Very disorienting, and a little irritating.
While heavy on the romance, this story blends fairy tale, amnesia, high-tech, aliens with super-powers, and faith into an interesting little tale that pulled me in.
My favorite character was probably Liesel’s future brother-in-law, the younger brother of the crown prince. I have a soft spot for younger brothers anyway, and while Liesel and her fiancé were pining for each other or stressing about the dangerous situation they found themselves in, the brother was grooving on having an actual adventure, and much more focused on doing what needed to be done first, worrying after. He also had a jokester streak that reminded me of my own brother.😉
The engaged couple were a tad overwrought in their anxiety for each other, but it wasn’t so laborious as some other writing I’ve read. What’s more, the magic kiss(es) are on the forehead!👍
The emotional climate was a little tense for my tastes, but overall the romance was “sweet” (if stated a little heavily).
I’ve experienced truly great amnesia stories – and for a while I wondered if Twisted Dreams would live up. Skipping back and forth from a fairy-tale fantasy to a planet-hopping space opera was confusing, making me wonder what was real – or if anything would be real!
Spoiler alert: it is! There is a “real” world, and “real” people, and a “real” story chronology. Let me tell you, I was much relieved. (Kinda slaps string-theory in the face, too!) While I thought the cutting back and forth (and the doubt over which memories are real) was handled a little confusingly, I’m not sure what I’d do to streamline it.
When you have characters who don’t know which world is real, or what’s going on, or aren’t even sure who they are, things are bound to get confusing. Things started rough, but eventually sorted out satisfyingly.
The professionalism of the manuscript was pretty good overall. There were a couple continuity issues (such as skipping over the actions of characters capturing guns from the enemy) and squishy science (traveling from one planet to the next – and docking – within minutes). I think I also caught a few instances of head-hopping (starting a scene in one character’s skin, and switching to another’s mid-scene).
In all, however, the grammar, punctuation, and voice were well handled.
The story is open about belief in God, and tries to create a theme of trusting God over men. I found this element a little pedestrian (relying on “telling” rather than “showing”) and tacked-on, but at least it wasn’t overly preachy.
The beginning was a little hum-drum, but once I figured out what was going on, the tension pulled me along. The characters are interesting, if not deep (you only have so much room in a short story), and the stakes get higher until the stirring climax.
For a story you can suck down in a long afternoon, not bad.
Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book during the Indie Christian Books Black Friday Sale 2017. I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise.
Twisted Dreams is available on Amazon (and for free with Kindle Unlimited).
You can find more about the author at her website: www.MorganHuneke.com.