Monday, January 14, 2013

Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Princess #1)
Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball 
Author: Jessica Day George
Publishing Date: January 20th 2009
Pages: 280
Genre:  YA Fairytale Retelling
Series: Princess #1
Source: Paperback


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.

I love fairytale retellings. There is something about taking an age old story and redoing it to get the same feeling as the first time but in a whole new sense. I loved this retelling. I am not a huge fan of the 21 Dancing Princesses. It was not a fairytale that I heard many many times so not only was this a retelling but almost an entirely new story for me and I loved it.

There are twelve princesses, all named after flowers (one of my favorite things about the story) and they go dancing every night at midnight. They are called down by a curse, against their will. They are tired all the time, the King only knows that every morning their dancing slippers are worn and the girls are exhausted. He cannot figure out how they get out of their room when it is under guard. He sends out a call to all men, a challenge, to discover the secret behind the girls worn out slippers and as a reward… his eldest daughter. One solider can break the curse, the one true love of Rose.

Loved it! It was very compelling from start to finish. I loved the story, the romance, the mystery, and the evil. It was everything I look for in a fairytale and it was beautifully written. It was a very fast paced read for me and I didn’t want to put it down.I very much enjoyed the setting of the book. I find historical fiction to be captivating if it is done right and this one was. I felt that I was back in the time and setting of this book. The story was told with all the elements needed for a historical fiction without confusing me or losing me within the etiquette and speech of the time. I feel that this story would have not been as wonderful if done in a modern setting and that the setting gave the story so much more beauty. The Romance, the courting, the rules, the damsel in distress all needed the historical setting.
Speaking of damsel in distress, Rose was one but she was also strong and brave. I loved Rose’s character. She knew what needed to be done and she cared so much for her sisters. She would do anything for them. Selfless when she wanted so much more. I really loved all the princesses. Yes they wined and a couple of times I felt like shaking some sense into them but my patience came from knowing that they didn’t know any other way to act. I did get quite upset at the king at times. He seemed to be clueless about so many things. In the end… he came through… and so did Galen. The real hero of the story, definitely swoon worthy and wonderful. Drool! 

An absolutely splendid read. I will for sure carry on the series and will be reviewing the other two books very soon. If you like fairytale retellings you will love this story.

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