Saturday, August 15, 2009

Princess of the Midnight Ball

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.

Beth says 5 Stars...
I'll admit that I'm a total sucker for retold fairy tales. They let me connect with my inner princess-obsessed 4 year old little girl. I'm particularly for a retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses, which just so happens to be my favorite fairy tale ever. What George did was remarkable; she turned a light children's tale into a complex and riveting story for "grown ups". I loved the main characters Galen and Rose. Both were strong and independent, but they still remained vulnerable. I particularly enjoyed Galen's story. It made the book so much richer, and really made Galen more than just your average male fairy tale hero. I loved watching the relationship between Galen and Rose grow; their interactions were so perfect. All of the princesses were beautifully done; none were the same, but the sisterly relationships were captured perfectly. The additions of some darker elements really matured the book. The balance was perfect, because I could still sense the spirit of the original story without losing the new differences. Something else that I found astounding was the complexity of the novel. The book is really short, but at every moment I was immersed in George's vision. The richness of the world was created by a delicate blending of fantasy and reality. The combination of a war-torn country and magic created a unique setting. I was enchanted by this novel. It is a mature story about love, loss, and magic with princesses that is impossible to put down. This is what I love about a retelling. It brought my favorite childhood fairy tale to life and made me love it even more.


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