Sunday, July 26, 2009

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

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A note about this post. Karen wrote her review of this book, and then Janelle submitted a review as well. I thought I would include both so you could get both opinions!

Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: A retelling of the tale of twelve princesses who wear out their shoes dancing every night, and of Galen, a former soldier now working in the king's gardens, who follows them in hopes of breaking the curse. (King County Library)
Opinions: The princesses of Westfalin are forced on an increasingly frequent basis to disappear at night while anyone else in their rooms is forced to sleep. Then they are taken below, no matter their state of health, to the underworld where they must dance for the King Under Stone who says they must dance six years more to fulfill a promise that their mother once made. Once the promise is fulfilled then they are destined to marry his twelve sons in which they dance with. The intriguing part is why.

Galen, a soldier returned from twelve years of war who returns to the family of his mother's after the war and finds work with his uncle tending the Queen's Garden. The King insists that the garden be kept in memory for Queen Maude who long since passed away - though it has quickly become a mockery as the townsfolk rename it the King's Folly. In the garden Galen learns of the curse that has taken hold of the princesses and soon he becomes determined to free them (especially Princess Rose) or die trying.

This is an intriguing retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princess fairytale, but told in a much darker tone. Jessica Day George has not only included the details of the original tail, but added tantalizing twists as the curse of the princesses turns into a national witch hunt when the church launches their own inquiry into the situation and the Archbishop sends a foreign Bishop with his own agenda to investigate the strange happenings in Westfalin. I highly recommend reading this, though on a personal note I still like the version my friend Stephanie wrote better.

Guest Reviewer: Janelle
Rating: Love
Opinions: A rich, colorful retelling of a classic tale. The story was well done, with deep characters and a believable villain. I even felt like I knew all the sisters, which is impressive, seeing as there are twelve.


Janelle said...

I'm with you on that, Karen!

Janelle said...

The liking Stephanie's version better, that is...

Stephanie said...

Ah shucks! (ducking head and scuffing foot while blushing)