Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review - Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George (4/5 stars)

Previously I read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George and enjoyed it.  When I saw that she had done a retelling of my absolute favorite fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses I was very excited to read it.  Overall it is a great read.

Rose and her sisters are cursed to dance every night away at the King Under Stone's castle because of an agreement their mother made with him.  As the mystery of their worn out shoes thickens, rumors of witchcraft abound, and the fate of their very kingdom rides on Rose and her sisters' secrets.  Can Galen, a common soldier, solve the mystery behind the princesses to clear their good names and save the kingdom?

I have to say this is my all time favorite fairy tale (with Beauty and the Beast right behind it).  I loved the beauty behind this story and the evilness that the beauty hides.  I still remember as a little girl reading about the forest of silver leaves and being absolutely enchanted by it.   So I had very high expectations for this story, which weren't quite met.  That being said George does do a good job with this story.

All of the characters are very personable and sweet; George did a pretty good job keeping track of the twelve sisters by grouping them into the older set and the middle set.  I was curious as to whether or not juggling 12 princesses' names would bog down the story, but it didn't.  She also did an excellent job at staying true to the story and giving it a splendidly happy ending.

Rose and Galen were by far the best characters; they were smart and resourceful and oh so very sweet to each other.  It was excellent how the politics of the kingdom overall were woven into the princesses' curse; this definitely filled out the story and made it more plausible.

My only problem with this story is that it was not as magical as I had hoped.  The story could have used a little more description, for me it didn't convey the beautiful yet awful majesty of the under world.  I didn't feel like I could picture the settings very well or hear the silver leaves tinkling in an invisible breeze.  Also I felt that the "danger" the princesses were in was a bit vanilla; the King Under Stone is not all the villain he could have been and I never really felt like the princesses were in all that much danger.  I guess at points the story was just a bit too Disney for me.

Overall I enjoyed reading this, but didn't think it captured the absolute danger and majesty of the original tale.  It is a nice story and ends happily, overall a good light read.  It is appropriate for all ages of readers and never gets too scary or too violent.  I enjoyed it enough that I will probably check out her latest book using these same characters Princess of Glass.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Summer Romance Reading Challenge
Princess of the Midnight Ball 

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