Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball

Jessica Day George

My Rating: 3 peaches
A tale of 12 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. 

Around 2 year ago, one of my students gave me the first big in the Dragon Slippers trilogy and I adored it. I have been looking to read George's Princess series ever since and I finally got the opportunity this past week. A reworking of the Grimm's fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", Princess of the Midnight Ball adds depth and history to the tale. 

Most of the story comes from Galen's point of view. A soldier returning from war, Galen grew up on the battlefield and is practical, polite and knits! Alternating with Galen's view is Rose, the eldest of the princesses and the princess we learn the most about. Rose is also practical and polite. She feels responsible and almost mothers the younger princesses since her own mother's death. It is the relationship between the sisters that is the most fun. I wish there was more interaction between all the sisters, but with 12 I can see how that would be difficult! Anyways, together Galena and Rose make the perfect, if slightly bland, fairy tale couple. A little more depth to both Galen and Rose's would have helped me care for them a bit more. All of their feelings and reactions seem to be surface level. There is very little action, a good deal of backstory and some fantastic descriptions. Most of the action occurs in the final chapters, which felt a bit rushed. And in true fairy tale style, it all ended happily ever after. 

So overall, this is a pleasant escape into a fairy tale world. There is no dark, nitty gritty stuff. Magic is present but more in the "everyday" sense, less in the wondrous sense. This makes Princess a perfect book for middle grade and the "younger" young adults. Absolutely nothing boundary pushing that would be cause for concern with younger readers. I will definitely recommend this book to many female readers in my elementary school (along with the Dragon Slippers trilogy) and I know I will read the sequel when I get a chance, but it won't be on the top of my list. 

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