Written by: Jessica Day George
Released: January 20, 2009 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Summary: 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.
Well, I think that I liked this book more than Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow purely because there was more to it than just the fairy tale; meaning that the fairy tale was more elaborated and made into something better than the original. Of course, I really liked Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, but this was just better in my books.
One thing that I really liked about the princesses was how they were each named after a different flower… though I couldn’t get the Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses out of my head. (Yes, I fully admit to watching that movie… I may even have it downloaded on to my computer) Anyways, I thought that it made the princesses more accessible as characters since each of them had names, though I could rarely keep most of them harnessed to the right person. The character Galen was someone I though incredibly sweet and strong in both his character and how he was written. Of course, my favourite character was Walter the gardener with the peg leg. He reminded me of an incredibly old grouchy grandfather.
What I really liked about the book was how it took the relatively questionable and lacking fairy tale (maybe it’s just the versions that I’ve read) and put some meat onto it. The plot expanded onto why the princesses danced through their shoes and gave a reason for the continuation. I mean, if I had to be awake all day and then dance all night, I’m pretty sure that I would give up the dancing for sleep before anything else. I also liked how George incorporated old wives tales into the story with the wool and herbs.
The ending was, well, a bit of a cop-out but then again everyone has to live ‘Happily Ever After’ in a fairy tale if they’re one of the good guys so it was expected. What I really want to see is how the characters are crossed over into the companion novel Princess of Glass. It should be interesting.
Either way, I’m giving this book a 7.5/10, leaning more towards an eight. If you’re looking to read some good fairy tale based books, pick this one up.