Saturday, August 3, 2013

Princess of the Midnight Ball

Rose is one of twelve princesses forced to dance through the night in an underground palace. The key to breaking the spell lies in magic knitting needles, an invisibility cloak, and—of course—true love. Inspired by "The Twelve Dancing Princesses,"this novel is as captivating as it is fresh. Enchanted readers are sure to clamor for the new companion, Princess of Glass, also publishing this season.

I just recently finished reading this book. After debating for about a YEAR whether or not I should buy it, I finally did, as I am on a Twelve Dancing Princesses kick. Jessica Day George is a great fantasy novelist and I enjoyed the story very much, though the dynamic was quite different from Entwined, which I had already fallen in love with. I have to say that I didn't enjoy this retelling as much as Entwined, but I still thought it was a whimsical and enjoyable read. 

Now, this is probably because I am biased, after having read Entwined for nearly a dozen times. This story is told from a third person omniscient perspective, relating the points of view of Galen, the soldier and savior, Rose, the eldest princess, and occasionally the King Under Stone. Much of the time, the story focused on Galen and his adventures and backstory, which I thought was a new and fresh take on the story. But because much of the story was focused on Galen, I felt that the princesses--the characters around which the story revolved--were a little underdeveloped. As I said before in my Entwined review, figuring out how to balance the characters and allow their personalities to shine equally is extremely difficult considering there are so many prominent characters. I wouldn't say that this new version was worse than Entwined, but simply that it was different. 

The story begins by explaining how Galen received his magical wraith cloak and also how he met the princesses in the first place (through gardening). One of the huge differences between Princess of the Midnight Ball and Entwined is that in this story, the princesses are cursed to dance night after night due to a deal their mother made with the King Under Stone. Therefore, they hate it. It was never made particularly clear whether they would have enjoyed dancing had they not been forced to do so night after night after night, but I get the impression that the answer is no. In Entwined, however, the princesses love dancing more than anything, and it goes into more detail about the different dances. In this book, however, the reader isn't even invited to the Midnight Ball until halfway through the story, which keeps intrigue high, but is also a bit disappointing; I would have liked to have read a more detailed account of their dancing instead of the story simply telling the reader that they danced. The difference is all in the description.

This story also focuses more on the church and religious aspects of the time period. The bishop proves to be a prominent villain as he attempts to point the girls' disappearances night after night toward witchcraft, which was a major crime back then, worthy of hanging. 

Overall, the story was pleasurable and thrilling toward the end. I finished it in a day. I would recommend it. :)

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