Sunday, August 7, 2011

Princess of the Midnight Ball

If you have ever read "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" you know the basic plot of this book.  Jessica Day George's novel is a straightforward retelling of the fairy tale.  It is a quick, easy read and I enjoyed the break it gave me from the rather heavy nonfiction I am currently reading. 

What I liked:
  • The princesses are very well aware that they are cursed in this version.  They are reaching the end of their abilities to withstand what is expected of them, particularly the eldest and the youngest.
  • The king is reluctant to agree to the plan to marry off one of his daughters by way of contest.
  • There is an impending disaster that causes the king to allow a common soldier turned gardener to enter the palace and try to solve the mystery. 
  • Said gardener only wants to save the princesses.  He does not come forward merely for the offered reward (unlike the Grimm version).
What I didn't like:
  • There are a lot of characters and the story didn't really require them all.  I would have liked to see less characters and more focus on the development of the important ones, Galen and Rose in particular (the gardener and the eldest princess).  
  • The side story of Lily (princess 2) and Galen's cousin was unnecessary and again took up space that could have been better used. 
  • I found it difficult to completely buy into the romance between Galen and Rose.  They have three conversations and suddenly he is willing to risk his life to save her.  (Yes, I know it's a fairy tale but this aspect of the story could have been better developed).
  • There was no original spin on the tale and I like that in a retelling.
This is a decent book if you are looking for a quick romantic read.  However, if you want a really good retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" you should read Juliet  Marillier's Wildwood Dancing

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