The premise is straight forward the King of Westfalin s 12 daughters nightly wear out their dancing slippers Several princes attempt to uncover the princesses secret for a reward of inheriting the Kingdom, but fail Only 19 year old Galen an ex soldier now gardener succeeds in finding out the truth with the help of an invisibility cloak and some magical wool.
I am not familiar with the original tale, so it s hard to tell how much the author has expanded on it Princess of the Midnight Ball is a nicely written story with an interesting setting and likable characters Galen is certainly a peculiar hero with a penchant for knitting yeah, I know, not necessarily a turn on for me either and princesses are mostly interesting too, especially those who are developed better The main weakness of the story IMO is that the magic is a bit shaky it is unexplained why Galen knows how to do certain things I can t say there is anything remarkable or of a wow quality here no spectacular writing or characterization or mythology, but overall the novel is a cute, light, engaging read I will probably readretellings by Jessica Day George, whenever mood calls for something like it As for the original fairy tale, I d like to read Juliet Marillier s version Wildwood Dancing or, gasp, an erotic version The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Nancy Madore Maybe these two put some new, interesting spin on it.
I bought this book yesterday at work, and was excited to start it I had some time in the evening and read a few pages When I woke early this morning and couldn t get back to sleep, I decided to read for a while I couldn t stop until I had finished the WHOLE THING I loved it I have read other variations on the 12 dancing princesses, but this one had different twist and turns that made it so much different and better.
A Tale Of Twelve Princesses Doomed To Dance Until DawnGalen 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 Captivating From Start To Finish, Jessica Day George S Take On The Grimms Tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses Demonstrates Yet Again Her Mastery At Spinning Something Entirely Fresh Out Of A Story You Thought You Knew I couldn t fall asleep one night and without even realizing it I was so caught up and enchanted by the story it was six in the morning when I finished the book.
This is a retelling but I m not familiar with the original tale, so I can t say how close it is to the original It stands on it s own though and you don t need any prior knowledge of the story to enjoy it.
The story starts out with our hero Galen great name by the way coming back from a war that he and his fellow soldiers have been fighting in for twelve years At eighteen he has seentragedy and bloodshed than most have in their lives Despite and because of all this he is such a lovable character I won t go into detail but eventually his path crosses with the beloved twelve princesses of Westfalin what would be considered Germany today most probably.
There is a mystery surrounding the twelve princesses, for some reason their dancing slippers our all worn through every third night No one sees where they go and can t seem to explain why this happens The princesses Rose, Lily, Jonquil, Hyacinth, Violet, Poppy, Daisy, Lilac, Iris, Orchid, Pansy, and Petunia all named after flowers obviously have to dance to serve a debt but they can t tell anybody I did have trouble keeping up with which sister was which, but other than that the story flowed well My sister who recommended it to me said that the beginning was slow going to her, but I thought the story had enough going on to keep the reader engaged I can t say how much I loved the Galen character too bad he isn t real and in reality I don t think there could be, but a girl can dream This enchanting, romantic, adventurous tale of Rose and Galen is a must read.
The Ionian continent has been devastated by the ten year war between the kingdoms of Westfalin and Analousia, which ended with Westfalin barely victorious, famine, a depressed economy, and thousands upon untold thousands of deaths.
Galen is a young veteran who lost his father, mother, and little sister during the war He finds employment at the royal residence in Westfalin s capitol, one of many men tending the late Queen s massive, impractical flower garden There he meets the twelve princesses, secretive girls suffering under a curseor are they the ones doing the cursing Rose, the King s eldest daughter, likes Galen right away But when he offers to solve her mystery, she s dismayed Many young men before him have tried to solve the curse They were all princes, and all of them met wretched fates There s an evil underground, just waiting until its descendants are human enough to walk abroad in sunlight.
Content Advisory Violence A guy stabs a humanoid monster with a silver stake Someone is knocked out, tied up, and imprisoned in a wardrobe A little kid is bullied and forcibly interrogated by a crew of grown men while her father and sisters are absent A woman is threatened with hanging Characters frequently discuss the people they lost in the war and the pain they still feel Sex At the beginning, we hear a storyteller spin the tale of four sisters who were locked in a tower to protect them from evil influences, only for all four girls to be impregnated by the King Under Stone in other news, the King Under Stone is Zeus No details given.
One of the princes is supposedly given to making suggestive comments, but none of his or anyone else s actual dialogue is remotely risqu.
Galen and Rose kiss exactly once Language None Substance Abuse None that I remember Nightmare Fuel The King Under Stone and most of his court look human, if rather pasty and elongated and generally Tim Burton ish But after centuries of living within the magical confines of their underworld, they can no longer go aboveground The King s sons are half human and can endure fresh air, but like vampires and Uruk hai, they cannot withstand sunlight view spoiler Under Stone is obsessed with marrying the princesses to his sons because humans would be able to survive aboveground and take over the kingdoms of Ionia He also wants these weddings ASAP, apparently unwilling to wait for little Pansy and Petunia to at least hit puberty Eek hide spoiler Princess of the Midnight Ballis a classic take on the well known fairy tale of theTwelve Dancing Princesses , but decidedly much darker this version of the story involves an ancient curse passed down to the princesses from their foolish mother and the mysterious deaths of the several princes who try to solve the mystery its plot, however, doesn t really veer into unexpected territory, which meant that it was mostly just a very fleshed out version of the original fairy tale, albeit with some minor twists.
the characters were extremely underdeveloped and therefore a huge meh for me the romance lacked passion and believability i couldn t keep track of the princesses and their names, couldn t care less about Galenon that later or Rose or their romance, and basically i think the only character in this story i remotely cared about was Gregor, the princesses father in the prologue, the villain of this book, a powerful dark magician, described him as fat and foolish and horrible but he ISN T he tries his best to be a good father and he actually would die for his daughters in an instant and he protects them at all costs and that s beautiful dadgoals okay anyway moving on, Galen actually put me off because he s obviously the white knight of the story and he s too perfect and never makes a single mistake idk i mean somehow when problems occur he thinks of a solution in like three minutes and also he s supposed to be a Gentleman who is Gallant and Chivalrous, blah blah, but i think this just made his character really bland and boring it s probably a personal preference so take this with a pinch of salt.
i don t really have much to say in this review because i don t really care about the book like it made me feel absolutely nothing and i skimmed at some points however, i will admit that jessica day george has much talent in writing her settings were descriptive and the fairytale backdrop felt almost magical to me i did like another book of hers calledSun and Moon, Ice and Snow , so maybe it s just that i couldn t connect to the characters in this one onething worth mentioning is Galen s unusual aptitude for knitting, and knitting plays quite an important role in this book also, the author wrote this with influences from German language, etc and i found that quite interesting because i didn t associate Germany with the original fairy taleJust you remember when you make a deal with them as lives below, there s always a hidden price Felt just like the fairytales I grew up on Maybe not my favorite book as far as YA or romance, but it was still spellbinding from first page to last, there s just something special about the storytelling that made me feel as if I were reliving the old illustrated collection I grew up on I would get this book for anyone that loves fairytales in a heartbeat.
And all because of some shoes, Galen murmured as they hurried away What Ulrike had to trot to keep up with him This all began because of their shoes being worn out night after night, he said He had fallen into an easy quick march pace He put an arm around his cousin s waist to help her along If someone could just figure out what they do every nightPrincess of the Midnight Ball is a retelling of the old favourite fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and it is just lovely LOVELY A book that makes you happy, holds your hand, offers you a warm smile and a friendly embrace I made a lot of contented sighing noises while reading this It is a nice, easy read It is not too taxing on the mind, not too heavy on the heart everything just happens at a gentle pace The retelling focuses on Galen a soldier that has just returned from war, and is offered a position working in the Queen s garden with his only living relative Here Galen meets the twelve princesses and in particular, the story focuses on Rose, the eldest princess Galen and Rose have a really sweet relationship They instantly like each other and there follows some gentle flirting and teasing.
and cue much girlish sighing on my partWell Your Highness, I know that I am indeed handsome, but I can hardly be blamed if my good looks overcame you so strongly that you fainted, he said, striking a pose He had butterflies in his stomach, wondering if he was taking the teasing too farHowever there is mystery in the palace New dancing slippers are required each day keeping the King s cobbler very busy and tongues wagging in the kingdom Despite being locked into their rooms at night with maids and guards keeping vigil each of the twelve princesses appear each morning with worn out dancing slippers where do the girls go to The princesses become weaker and sickly, yet still each morning they appear with worn out slippers Who is forcing them to dance against their will What witchcraft could it be Are they all cursed Or are they the ones doing the cursing Noble princes are sent to find out and are promised hands in marriage and kingship if they solve the mystery but to no avail and mysteriously each of these princes soon die after returning to their own lands.
It is up to our brave soldier cum gardener Galen to figure out the mystery, break the spell and banish the evil doersHe was the stuff of nightmares, the stuff of campfire tales A magician so steeped in evil that he had ceased to be human, transforming himself and his most devout followers into something other immortal and monstrous According to legend, centuries ago every country on the continent of Ionia had risen up against him and cast him into an underground prison He was too powerful to be destroyed completely, and trapping him in a sunless realm with only his followers to rule over had been the only solution An army of white witches had been gathered to do the deed, and the effort had cost many of them their livesDon t you love a good fairy tale This was justsocute SO CUTE Ok so there wasn t exactly great character development outside of Galen and Rose It was like Princess Rose and eleven other florally named princesses who all merged together into one character but I did not mind I enjoyed the slow pacing I enjoyed the romance, the intrigue, the mystery Sometimes we need life to go at a slower pace We need to escape the harshness of the real world and I found my escape here in the pages of this book Did it change my life Blow me away Make me feel all the feels No it didn t But some times that isnotthe point This book made me smile It made me happy It gave me good feelings It left me with a sense of contentment And sometimes all we want from life is thathappily ever after read this if you want something gentle, if you are tired, if you are ill It will restore your soul and gently cradle you between its loving pages.
Three starsTheir fingers touched when she took it from him, and they stayed that way for a moment, hands together, the rose cradled between them
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature The malevolent King Under Stone cuts not one deal, but two, with the queen of the country of Westfalin first, that she will be able to have children second, that Westfalin will be victorious in its battles against other countries In return, the human queen agrees to spend one night per week dancing with the King Under Stone in his underground kingdom But the once human king has an agenda, and supernatural beings have a way of twisting their agreements to find loopholes The Westfalin queen bears no sons, but has twelve daughters not coincidentally, matching the number of half human sons of the King Under Stone, who plans for his sons to have mortal wives and thus break the king out of his underground bondage.
When the queen dies before fulfilling her bargain, the King Under Stone forces her twelve daughters to finish the contract by secretly coming down to his kingdom and dancing with his dark sons In fact, he has no intention of releasing them, and is slowly binding the girls with his magic to his kingdom, as well as preventing them from telling anyone what is happening to them Their frantic father, the King of Westfalin, begs for help from neighboring royalty and nobility, but each young man who tries to find out why the princesses are exhausted and have worn out dancing slippers falls asleep, fails to solve the puzzle and then mysteriously dies But a polite young soldier named Galen, returning from Westfalin s latest war, is kind to an old woman who then gifts him with an invisibility cloak and some very good advice.
This young adult retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses recreates their story with a few minor twists, such as the scheming role of the King Under Stone who is the person responsible for the young men s deaths, not the girls father , the fuller development of a relationship between the oldest princess and the soldier, and Galen s unusual aptitude for knitting apparently it s very useful for soldiers to be able to knit socks , which will eventually play a role in the resolution of the mystery But in general Jessica Day George follows the traditional plotline, so the surprises are relatively mild for any reader familiar with the original story.
All twelve princesses are named after flowers Rose, Lily, Jonquil, Hyacinth, Violet and so forth Who knew there were so many flower names for girls I wasn t able to keep any of them straight except for the two eldest, Rose and Lily, and the priggish Hyacinth Still, with twelve sisters, this likely would have been an issue for me no matter what they were named.
I found Princess of the Midnight Ball pleasant reading but not memorable In fairness, though, this middle grade young adult novel seems to be aimed at a fairly young audience, who may not be familiar with the original fairy tale and who will beapt to be enchanted by the magical world George creates and the budding romance between Galen and the oldest princess, Rose For readers who enjoy young adult fairy tale retellings but are looking for a greater amount of depth andtwists on the original twelve dancing princesses tale, I recommend Juliet Marillier s Romanian based retelling, Wildwood Dancing.
George has written two sequels, Princess of Glass and Princess of the Silver Woods, which continue the series with two of the younger princesses as main characters, and also weave in themes and elements from other fairy tales Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, respectively I actually consider both of these sequels stronger works than this first book in the series, primarily because of the greater creativity in their plots If you or your child enjoys Princess of the Midnight Ball, it s worth continuing with the series.
Initial thoughts There are YA books that are detailed and complex enough for adults to enjoy, and then there are those that are so simply told that they truly are just for the kids This, I think, is one of the latter Somehow three different novelizations of The Twelve Dancing Princesses have come my way in the last three or four months this book, Entwined and Wildwood Dancing None of them is perfect, but I liked Wildwood Dancing the best Midnight Ball will appeal mostly to girls in the 10 16 age range, I think The writing is on the simplistic side It was a pleasant, unobjectionable read and a fairly straightforward retelling of the original fairy tale To put it another way, it felt very middle school ish Which is fine if you re 13.
ETA This book and my review just resurfaced in the comment thread, and I ve been thinking again about this one and Wildwood Dancing.
It s worth mentioning that I just increased my rating of Wildwood to 5 stars, and one year after reading Princess of the Midnight Ball, I have absolutely no recollection of the plot of this book, or how it s distinguishable from multiple other retellings of the twelve dancing princesses fairy tale None That doesn t mean it s a bad book, just that, for me, it was completely forgettable.
Reread this April 2011, as I get ready to write the third book Kinda impressed with myselffun characters, and I m excited to get back into their heads.