Friday, October 4, 2013

Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George

I'm always up for another fairy tale retelling, and the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses has always been one of my favourites. Maybe it's the little details, like the worn out slippers, or the snap of a branch that almost gives away the invisible soldier. Maybe it's the old soldier himself, such a departure from typical fairy-tale heroes, and the youngest princess who is perceptive enough to recognize his value.

In Princess of the Midnight Ball, Jessica Day George takes everything I like about this fairy tale and makes it better! Galen, the soldier, is completely swoon-worthy. He's not so old, but he started young so he has lots of soldierly experience and the world-weariness that comes of it. He's capable, but humble, but stands up for himself. He's funny. And he knits! (George points out in an afterword that knitting used to be an exclusively male activity: who knew?!)

The princesses in this version of the story have a realistic age range from seventeen to seven years old, so we get some nice family dynamics, and it's Rose, the oldest, who has the burden of dealing with all her sisters and the curse they are under. So it's Rose that Galen feels impelled to cheer up, and it's Rose he's willing to risk his life for to solve the mystery that's tearing the kingdom apart.

Great characters, intriguing explanation for the dancing, some nice plot twists thrown in to up the stakes--a thoroughly satisfying read. I'm going to look for the next two Princess books from George.

Like chewy homemade condensed-milk caramels: sweet but with substance.


  1. I love the 12 dancing princess story too! This version was a good read.

  2. I'm glad you liked this one! This was one of the first 12DP retellings I read that really grabbed me. I highly recommend The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell and Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier if you're looking for more and haven't read those.

    Unfortunately, I this this book was the strongest of the series by far, but I'm interested in seeing your thoughts on them. Hope you enjoy!

    1. I've heard of Wildwood Dancing from a number of different sources I trust. Really must find it.