Publisher’s Summary: 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.
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.
Content advisory: Action and romance are both held at minimal levels, and coarse language and substance abuse are non-existent. A thinly-disguised church is painted as a “bad guy” element.
Does this book end? Yes; George has written two other Princess stories that include more of the twelve sisters: Princess of Glass and the upcoming Princess of the Silver Woods.
My thoughts: First and foremost, this book struck me as a mystery. Not so much a “I wonder what’s going on?” mystery as much as a “How will they figure out what’s going on?” mystery. Thanks to the prologue (and the original story, of course), we as readers pretty much know what’s going on, but the interesting thing is watching the characters, particularly Galen, try to figure it out. This made the plot feel somewhat slow and gentle, but still intriguing. There’s also a lot of knitting that takes place, all of it by Galen. It makes perfect sense for a soldier to know how to knit, especially in the context of the story, so I’m not complaining, just pointing it out. There’s some humor as well, and it’s not the overly done fairytale making fun of the modern world humor, either, which is refreshing. There’s very little actual action, and the story almost wraps up too neatly as everyone somehow seems to know exactly what to do and when, making this a story that probably won’t appeal to many teen boys.
The bottom line: This is a fairytale mystery story that pulls readers in and tells an intriguing story without a lot of action.