Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Princess MIdnight BallGalen just turned 19, and he’s on his way home from war. Home? His parents are dead, and the relatives he hopes to live with don’t even know him. On his way, he meets an old woman, hungry and shivering in the cold. He shares his food and gives her his scarf – and she rewards him with a super special cloak and two types of wool. Hm? Those will be significant later, how?

Galen’s uncle takes him to work in the King’s flower garden, where he meets Princess Rose. Princess Rose is tired out – she wears out her slippers dancing at night – where? Just like the original Grimm fairy tale (hey, full Grimm with audio over here!) , the princess12 Prncs 3es go down to the underworld through a trapdoor in their floor. And they dance with young men they hate, even when they’re exhausted and sick. Who can save them? Not themselves, obviously. But will it be the prince, the soldier, or the gardener?

The Good:

  • Princess Rose is absolutely sick of suitors giving her roses. So original! NOT. I bet she had little roses embroidered on her baby clothes. Bleah.
  • One of the princesses can shoot, and keeps a gun in her bedroom.
  • On the other hand, none of the heroes in this story use swordsmanship to Rescue the Damsels in Distress ™. Its brains all the way. Now that’s hot.
  • Ye Olde Gardener knows about the underworld, and rowan wood helping out. Together with Ye Olde Lady, this story acknowledges that the older generation has valuable information.

The Bad:

  • When Galen gets to his aunt and uncle’s house, he sees a dumpy middle aged woman and assumes its the housekeeper. Thanks, dude.
  • Galen’s uncle thinks he’s an impostor. You’re not that important, uncle, no one is rushing to inherit your gardening tools.
  • The socks knitted (and knitted and knitted) by the Good Ladies for Our Boys Out There … never made it to the soldiers. Grrrrr.
  • The prince who gives Princess Rose a rose, just like her name, and assumes he’s so original.
  • The princes think they can solve the curse by their manly princlyness. Even after the other princes failed. *ego fail*

The Double Take:

  • The soldier coming home says the only useful thing he learend on the battle field is how to knit. Hah! Bet that’s going to be a plot point, but even if not, Hah!
  • The princesses are clearly cursed. Who ya gonna call? The bishop. Well, that was unexpected. And the results are pretty unexpected, too.
  •  The underground dancing hall. Beautiful. The people, not so much…
  •  Those hanks of wool Ye Olde Lady gave Galen? Wow. Just wow.

 

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