Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
Princess Talia of Euphrasia pricks her finger on a spindle, causing the entire kingdom to fall asleep for 300 years. They awaken when Talia is kissed by Jack, a teenager sent by his parents to tour Europe for the summer. A Kiss In Time is obviously a modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
I try really hard to write balanced reviews. I try to point out the good with the bad. I'm having a hard time finding the good here. I should start by saying that I really enjoyed Flinn's Beastly, and I love fairytale retellings, so I went into A Kiss in Time with pretty high expectations. I came out really disappointed.
First, Flinn does an excellent job in Beastly of bringing the classic elements of the fairytale as well as the magic into the modern world in a plausible way. That just didn't happen for A Kiss in Time. There are so many contradictions in the world building that it just feels lazy. How is it that the Eurphrasia is completely forgotten by all of Europe, but the insulted concierge is able to send Jack directly to it? And how are the spires of a Castle in a supposedly forgotten Kingdom visible from a plane? What teenage boy could know a girl (who is wearing a full-on ball gown) for a few hours then walk into a Gap and buy her clothes that fit? How many manufactures of fake IDs are hanging out in Gap and willing to do business with a teenager? For that matter, how many Gaps are there in rural Belgium? I don't believe Flinn's contemporary world, much less the magical elements. (ETA: It also doesn't help that I was continually thinking about how much better OSC handled all of this in Enchantment.)
The characters are even worse. Talia is a spoiled brat, thoroughly nasty in her own time. I understand that she felt stifled, but her behavior was more that of a 6 year old than a 16 year old. The modern day Talia is irreconcilable as the same character - she has a completely different personality. Jack is shallow, selfish and self centered. He is lazy and ungrateful, completely unaware of anyone around him. Each of their parents are studies in extremes - either overbearing in their care or completely hands off. The only character for whom I felt ANY compassion was Malvolia, but that was more picking the best out of a bad lot. They were all cardboard. The HEA was forced and contrived.
It feels like Flinn was just going through the motions with this one, and I feel frustrated that I wasted my time with it. I know this is not the best she can do, so I will continue to read her work. However, I will do it more cautiously in the future.
I Borrowed a Copy from my Local Library