View from the window seat:
Rose is the eldest daughter of the king. She and her eleven younger sisters are cursed to dance every night for the King Under Stone, a malevolent inhuman king who lives deep underground. The princesses don’t see a way out of their curse, until a young soldier named Galen returns from war. Galen is determined to find out where the princesses mysteriously disappear every night and why both they and their dancing slippers are so worn out. Galen and Rose must face evil both above and below ground to break the curse and free the princesses.
Sometimes you just need a refresher book, something that’s fun, simple, and enjoyable to read. That’s exactly what Princess of the Midnight Ball was to me. You’ll probably often hear me complain on this blog about predictability, but when it comes to fairytale retellings, an easy-to-follow plot fits perfectly. I actually wasn’t that familiar with the Grimms’ The Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale. This was my first retelling of the story, but I didn’t need to be that familiar with it to know the basics of how the story would go. I love fairytale retellings for just this reason: they’re comforting in their familiarity. Knowing that a happy ending is forthcoming is a great feeling when reading.
Even though the happy ending was guaranteed, there were still very real stakes for the princesses and Galen. The princesses are physically weary from the dancing and emotionally weary from the trapped feeling of the curse. They’re close to their breaking points. They even have to continue dancing when terribly ill. Their curse puts their kingdom at risk. Surprisingly, it’s the evil aboveground that I found to be more terrifying. I felt like the King Under Stone wasn’t actually the real villain at all.
Of course, I would be remiss to discuss a fairytale without mentioning the romance. Galen is everything you would want in a fairytale hero. He’s brave, honorable, and selfless. His romance with Rose is sweet and adorable and perfect for a fairytale.
Rose isn’t the only princess in this book, though. While her story is the main one, her sisters all feature prominently as well. I would think it would be really difficult to create twelve unique princesses who were born in consecutive years and thus close in age, but Jessica Day George gives each princess a personality and makes every one her own character.
Princess of the Midnight Ball is a cute fairytale retelling that is sure to please fairytale enthusiasts like myself.