I love a good fairy tale. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is still one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. And what girl didn’t dream of being Belle in Beauty and the Beast (especially since the Beast gave her that wicked awesome library)? My point is…fairy tales are great. They’re even better when they’re adapted for a new audience. My latest read is just such a tale. Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball is a retelling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and it has been retold to fit a young adult audience. Now, many of my students will claim that they’re too old for fairy tales, but I contend that you’re never too old for a great story of romance and good triumphing over evil. They’ll get it all in Princess of the Midnight Ball.
Princess Rose and her eleven sisters mysteriously disappear every night. No one knows where they go, and the sisters cannot speak of their activities. The only evidence that evil is afoot is their worn-out dancing slippers. The sisters are under the power of the King Under Stone, a horrid being who is imprisoned deep within the earth. The princesses are condemned to dance for him every night at his Midnight Ball. There is seemingly no escape from this horrible curse.
Galen, a soldier returning from war, has recently been hired as a gardener at the palace. He notices that things are not right with the princesses. When the king begins to offer rewards for he who can solve the mystery of his daughters’ nightly activities, and the princes who try to figure things out begin to die, Galen starts to piece things together (with the help of a few magicians-in-disguise). He is determined to help the princesses, especially Rose, break their curse. He seeks no reward other than the knowledge that the princesses are safe. (But we all know how those things go…the brave but poor commoner is really the best guy for the nice princess to end up with.) Will he succeed? Will the curse be broken? What will become of the princesses, Galen, and the King Under Stone? I’ll leave that for you to figure out.
Princess of the Midnight Ball is a lovely story, and the book cover is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. Although this will be marketed as a “girl book,” there’s lots in it that guys will find appealing–danger, fighting, and bad guys. It’s a winner for all readers!