Author: Jessica Day George
Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction
Pub Date: January 2009, Bloomsbury USA
Source: Received as a gift
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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.
I've never been a huge fan of Grimm's fairytales, so I was not familiar with the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses before reading Jessica Day George's retelling. Of course, I'm a huge fan of George's Dragon series and her writing style in general for the middle grade reader, so I was pretty confident I would enjoy her take on this particular fairytale. Happily, this confidence was not misplaced, as George brought this tale to life with great detail in her typically vivid and captivating style.
I will say that I think I enjoyed the Dragon books more -- perhaps because they were from George's imagination, rather than trying to retell a story that originated from somewhere else. I also favor fantasy adventures, so that might have something to do with my preference, as well. Nevertheless, George writes about the twelve princesses, each with the name of a flower, their would-be rescuers (the various princes from all the lands around Westfalia), as well as a few other key characters in such a way to bring them to life right before your eyes. The romance is sweet, yet not overpowering. We know from the beginning which way the wind is blowing, so there's not really much mystery or anything to deter Galen and Rose's relationship -- well, other than the fact that Galen has to solve the mystery of what is going on with Rose and her sisters, of course!
Princess of the Midnight Ball is a nice, quick read -- perfect for summer and a book I know I would have enjoyed when I was in the target age group. Oh, and I agree with many of you who commented on my Teaser Tuesday post -- it is a gorgeous cover! I look forward to picking up Princess of Glass sometime down the road, as well!