Saturday, June 25, 2011

Book Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult (fantasy)
Why I read it/how I found it: Jessica Day George had been to a few of events I'd gone to as well, so I thought it was about time I read something of hers. Plus, I love fairy tales.

Returning home from the war, young Galen finds work with his mother’s family in the royal gardens. There he learns that the king’s twelve daughters have a secret: every night they dance their shoes to tatters, but no one knows how or why. When prince after prince tries and fails to find the answer, and the family is haunted by accusations of witchcraft, Galen decides to help. Armed with a pair of silver knitting needles and an invisibility cloak given to him by a strange old woman, he follows the princesses and unlocks the secret of their curse.

Review: I really loved the fact that this is based on a fairy tale you don't hear too much about, especially in retellings. There are oodles of Cinderella retellings out there, but a book dedicated to the Twelve Dancing Princesses you don't hear much about. From what I do know about the fairy tale, this stuck to it pretty well--the twelve dancing princesses with worn out shoes, the evil king/sorcerer, the princes who failed in discovering the secret and the common man who succeeded. It stuck much more closely than the works of Gail Carson Levine. Yet it's more than just a telling of the story. Each character is given depth, and the stakes are higher with the country just coming back from war, and the world is built so very fully. I did wish for a bit more background on the war and why they went at it for so long anyway to give the king a bit more sympathy. But overall, this is a magical read. I'm planning on suggesting it to my younger cousin.

Other information: You can find Jessica Day George's website here.


  1. I read this book a few years ago and I really enjoyed it! Great review :) Another retelling of the story is Entwined by Heather Dixon, if you're interested. I haven't read it myself yet but I've heard good things. Thanks!

  2. What was your rating out of five? Sounds like a good book!

  3. This sounds interesting. I'll have to add it to my ever growing list.

  4. The Story Queen: I've heard Entwined is really good as well. We'll have to read it and compare opinions. :)

    WoollyBird: I've decided to stop ratings. I think it makes one book "better" than another if I give one a higher ranking. So now I just share my feelings on it.

    TC Mckee: It's definitely worth the read! :)

  5. I've heard of Entwined, but not this one. That cover art is lovely. Sounds like a great adaptation. Might have to put it on my TBR mountain, because I love me a good fairy tale retelling.

  6. Ooh, sounds intriguing! I've been reading that fairy tale to my daughter lots, and this is the first time I've heard of it being adapted as a novel. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)