Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Summary: A retelling of the classic story “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”

Briana: Retellings of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” are among the most common, and so it is much to George’s credit that she manages both to bring some originality to the subject and, indeed, to pen one of the best of the retellings.  Her version may not be among the “completely turned on its head so one barely recognizes the inspiration” type, but it does more than simply flesh out the already existing outline.  For one, the reader is utterly convinced that the hero soldier may not be able to help the princesses, after all; such is the magnitude and the reality of the danger with which he is faced.  At one point, he is knocked out and tied up in wardrobe!  George gets major kudos for adding suspense to a familiar tale.  Add in the diabolical intrigue created by some corrupt Church officials and the loathsome contract a queen made to save a kingdom, and you have a retelling actually worth the price to buy it.

Krysta: As enchanting retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” this book brings its story to life through the characterization of the usually forgotten supporting cast.  George not only names all twelve princesses, but also gives them a chance to participate in the adventure through their own loves, talents, and attitudes.  Their escorts in the underworld also receive, perhaps for the first time, a bit of personality.  The king, governess, bishop, and maids all make appearances that give the story some muscle, as do the townspeople and some foreigners.  Add to this the concept of strained political relations and a concerned Church, an ancient struggle against evil, and a knitting hero, and you have a pleasant adventure fleshed out enough, yet predictable enough, to convince you that it is the original.

Published: 2009

Sequel: Princess of Glass

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