Sunday, August 16, 2009

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

The King of Westfalin has a problem. The royal treasury has been depleted by a 12 year war that his soldiers only narrowly won, and here he is, spending his country's dwindling gold on dancing slippers. The twelve princesses of Westfalin are wearing out their shoes much more quickly than anyone should, and the King can't figure out why. He locks them in their bedrooms every night, and every morning he finds them exhausted, and with worn out dancing shoes. The royal maids and palace guards haven't seen or heard anything, and the princesses seem unwilling or unable to explain themselves. What's a king to do?

This retelling of the Grimm Brothers' classic tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses (or the Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces), is hands down the best fairy tale adaptation I've read in quite some time. The language was as fresh and easy to understand as it was vibrant and descriptive. The thirteen central characters (the twelve princesses and the soldier who comes to investigate their problem) are all fleshed out in interesting ways, which is a feat in and of itself. The addition of a villain is exactly what this story needed to make it novel length, and the suspense was absolutely pitch-perfect.

The Princess of the Midnight Ball is an excellent way to spend a free afternoon.

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