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For Readers Age approx. 14+
Grades 10+

Waking Rose: a fairy tale retold - Review
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Publisher's Summary:

Doman, Regina. (2007) Waking Rose: a fairy tale retold. Front Royal, VA: Chesterton Press. ISBN #978-0-981-93184-5. Author recommended age: 16 +. also recommends 16+.  See author explanation for parents at her website.   

Publisher’s description: Ever since he rescued her from Certain Death, Rose Brier has had a crush on Ben Denniston, otherwise known as Fish. But Fish, struggling with problems of his own, thinks that Rose should go looking elsewhere for a knight in shining armor. Trying to forget him, Rose goes to college, takes up with a sword-wielding band of brothers, and starts an investigation into her family's past that proves increasingly mysterious. Then a tragic accident occurs, and Fish, assisted by Rose's new friends, finds himself drawn into a search through a tangle of revenge and corruption that might be threatening Rose's very life. The climax is a crucible of fear, fight, and fire that Fish must pass through to reach Rose and conquer his dragons.


Respect for self and others: This includes integrity (adherence to a code of conduct or value system), honesty vs. manipulation or lying, compassion, caring for others (characters not focused on getting their way no matter what) self respect--main character does not let others denigrate him or her; use of self control and self-discipline ; taking charge of own behaviour; fairness to others (such as taking turns and avoiding the blame game). Reader should ask themselves “How does the protagonist depict their peers?” “Would you want others to treat you this way? Should everyone act this way?” This includes true friendships that do not involve regular lying, deceit or manipulation; considering consequences of actions prior to acting; owning up to responsibility once an action has been taken.

This story in the series expands our collection of protagonists to a wide and diverse assortment of personalities. Whether it is passionate activism, silly yet creative antics and practical jokes, or studious work, each are forthright and honest with one another, caring and self-disciplined. Their values are easy to see because of integrity in behavior.  Characters are truly likeable. We also see the small things that show care for others: respecting roommates, girls making efforts not to “lead on” boys with whom they only want friendship, rules supporting chastity.

Portrayal of Authority figures: The positive portrayal of parents, teachers, police officers and other “good” authority figures common in a child’s life is a positive influence upon the child’s own moral development. This includes actively-parenting mother and father figures. Minimization of parental involvement in the character’s activities or the portrayal of authority figures as inferior present poor role models. Also to be avoided are main characters that deceive parents and teachers to accomplish goals, and overuse sarcasm towards authority figures. Ask yourself “Are parents seen as positive or negative influence in the character's life?”

Police and hospital security are portrayed realistically, having small roles; no bumbling, negative or stereotypes, so the authority figures play the necessary part of bringing challenge to the storyline.

Citizenship and Patriotism: Loyalty to family, team or group, school, community and world; caring for and being considerate of these groups. Pride to be part of that group or nationality.

While no community or national groups are in this storyline, the strong family loyalty amongst the Briers continues and fathers of both families are honored at the wedding. The family theme is extended to “family of choice” with the groups of students who form a family of friends in their respective dorms, while also engaging collectively in the larger group as Catholics. Each character demonstrates a fierce belief in, and loyalty to, their respective groups. This group loyalty permits them to persevere against all odds and win the battle against evil.

Justice and Balance: A just distribution between good and evil (with good outweighing evil in the presence of the storyline); demonstration of right and wrong; making decisions to enact the above values rather than simply choosing from two bad possibilities; Ask yourself “Is the emphasis on the positive elements or negative?”


The reader could easily question how so much  of the “unfair” could happen to any one person (Fish) or family (Briers). Yet the characters do not question the fairness of their destinies. They accept the challenges life brings, rely upon discernment for wisdom in choices and actions, and ultimately good prevails.  

The discriminatory feminist views of female antagonists are realistic and clearly delineate for the reader the evil which prevails upon young adults today. Myths and prejudices against pro-life activists are overcome through action.  

Finally, not to be overlooked is the handling of Donna’s mental illness, which early on drives her to act harmfully towards Rose. But through forgiveness and formation, she learns to control her illness which gives her strength to make the right choices.

Aesthetic aspects Of life ExperienceLook for a storyline portrayal of beauty, health, and selfless love vs. hedonistic behaviours (sexuality, selfishness, obsessiveness, materialism), profanity, gore and violence. Are nature and environment respected or exploited? Look for dark elements; watch out for humor that is negative, denigrates others excessively, uses metaphors to denigrate the sacred.

The entire book is formatted with back-and-forth views between His (Fish) and Hers (Rose), rendering it stylistically intriguing.  The three pillars of faith, family and friends is re-enforced throughout. Descriptors create suspense and emotions; discernment of characters leads naturally to wise decisions. When any one of these three pillars are shaken, internal conflict and unsafe situations arise. 

The idea of one’s vocation in life--whether it be chaste singlehood or married life, career choices, etc.—is part of the underlying story. Rather than hedonistic obsession found in literature today, sexuality is dealt with from its core: at the heart. The confusion created by conflicting feelings, misunderstandings and trauma are sorted through so its main character finds his authentic nature and, with that, hope for a happy future.  With all the threats and deceptions that undertake the protagonists, and the formation of an antagonist (Donna) to protagonist, we see ongoing acts of selflessness, healthy choices, self-discipline and love, all of which breed Hope.

Other things to Consider:Other aspects of this book of interest or importance. For example, does it portray Wiccan practices and accurate use of tools of which some parents might object, does it contain hidden meanings in metaphors that may prove offensive to some families; does it address personal issues such as puberty or pregnancy.

The storyline deals with mental illness, inter-relational tension, physical and sexual abuse and the resulting gender identity conflict, healing same-sex attraction and developing healthy authentic relationships. Violence includes arson, stalking, kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder. does not recommend the story for younger advanced readers. However, teens and adults will find it moving and enjoyable. Taking this a step further, fiction such as this is necessary to combating the myths and hidden agendas forming the minds and hearts of kids and young adults today. It is especially good material for book club and youth or college ministry discussions, as well as homeschool or classroom literature courses at the high school and early college levels. Of course, it is highly recommended just for good reading too!


So what do YOU think? Read our thoughts on the book and join in the discussion: Litland's Blog   

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