Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George – Book Review

Book Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball

Book Series: The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy, #1

Author: Jessica Day George

Genre: Junior YA Fantasy, Fairytale

Blurb from Goodreads

A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn…

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.

My Review

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 night.”

Princess of the Midnight Ball is a retelling of the old favourite fairy-tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and it is just 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 part.

“Well 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 far.”

However 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 doers….

“He 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 lives”

Gosh I love a good old fashioned fairy-tale. This was just so cute!!!!!!!!! SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!

I mean sure there wasn’t exactly great character development outside of Galen and Rose because it was basically Princess Rose and eleven other florally named princesses who all merged together into one character… but somehow I did not mind! I enjoyed the slow-pacing. I enjoyed the romance, the intrigue, the mystery… I was just transported to this quietly enchanting and gentle story.

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 is not the 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 that *happily ever after*.

“Their fingers touched when she took it from him, and they stayed that way for a moment, hands together, the rose cradled between them.”

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.

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