Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Princess #1)

Jessica Day George

Publication Date: January 20th 2009

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 280

Genre:  Fairytale, Young Adult

A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn… 

Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above. 

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.
If anyone keeps up and reads many of my reviews than you know that there are a few things I really appreciate in a book. I enjoy stories that are written simply and non-dramatically. In other words, I tend to find other things more exciting in a book (such as the adventure). This is possibly why I enjoy most fantasy retellings so much, as they have all ended up similar tones of storytelling.

Princess of the Midnight Ball benefits from this as well. The romance happens, but they don't dwell on it. There is a terrible thing happening to the girls, but they try their hardest to just weather through it instead of going 'woe is me' in the inner voices. It's very refreshing.

This book is a retelling of the "Twelve Dancing Princesses", a very popular fairytale to retell since it has many elements that can be dealt with in an interesting way. Unlike many of the retellings, however, a little more than half the book is told from the point of view of our hero. On top of that, most of the parts from Rose (our eldest sister's) perspective is told in a limited way, keeping our knowledge of everything at a similar level to Galen (our hero).

Speaking of Galen, he is a wonderfully faceted hero. His personality is so refreshing among all of the brooding heroes in young adult fiction. And I can't resist a man who knits and is proud of it.

Our princesses are well established as well. It is hard to get twelve sisters to stick in your mind. George managed to get half of them established enough that I knew who they were and what their personalities were like off-hand.

As this has become a basic book in the libraries of those who love fairytale retellings, I'm sure many of you have read this book. If you are a fairytale fan and you haven't yet, however, I strongly urge you to. It's cute and full of adventure.



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