Review: Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Series: The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy #1

princess of the midnight ball -jessica day george 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.


 

2.5 Drink Me Potions


If you know me well enough, you would know that I absolutely adore fairy tale retellings in general. However, something about Princess of the Midnight Ball just lacked in excitement.

Overall, this novel was a fun enough read while it lasted, but it’s easily forgettable.

The story is based off of one of the Grimm’s brothers fairy tales. This wasn’t one of those famous ones remade by Disney. It did give off a bit of a creepy vibe so I suppose Disney would have to change it up a bit. Anyway, it starts off with the evil villain. Some dude named the King Under Stone. Like, what the heck? I don’t know the fairy tale so it may have made tons of sense but it just seemed like a lame name for such a powerful villain. So what if he lived underground? Doesn’t make it right to give him such a stupid name.

There were 12 girls, all sisters and princesses of the kingdom, who lived under a curse of having to dance a Midnight ball every third night. For the evil villain himself. Of course, no one could know of this except the fact that they kept disappearing to who-knows-where in the middle of the night from their rooms, no matter how hard their father king tried to prevent them.

Enter Galen Werner, just an ordinary soldier boy coming home from a war that was over in the kingdom. He was a likeable character. He seemed to follow some sort of moral code. Maybe it came from seeing the sights he did in war that not many other young people his age did. He wasn’t jaded though, but gave off a trustworthy vibe, a you can count on me kind of feeling.

Of course, turns out that he really was the kind of guy who would sacrifice his own safety to help 12 princesses for their sake.

There’s a bit of romance in it between Galen and the eldest princess, Rose. Not by much for YA standards. It was an innocent first bloom kind of love, with glimpses from afar and the occasional conversation in the garden. It was still nice, I guess. Just…not the kind of thing to get your heart racing for them.

But all these things I mentioned above? Lackluster. That’s the best word I can come up with. There’s not much emotion beyond a slight oh hey, that’s cool, I guess kinda feeling. Things were predictable, it was just a matter of how they got there. Although there wasn’t much, here are the few things that I found unique and somewhat memorable:

1. All the girls were named after flowers. (I know, right? That’s also hard to keep track of with so many of them)
2. The lair of the evil villain reminded me of the Underworld, but described with water instead of fire.
And lastly,
3. Galen’s adventures with his invisibility cloak. (Harry Potter, anyone? Hmm?)

Princess of the Midnight Ball is not a bad fairy tale retelling, but may just be memorable for the younger YA audience. If I had read this a few years earlier, maybe my rating would have changed. Who knows? But as of right now, this story will probably fade from my memory amongst the many, many books I’ve read. It’s just missing that extra umph.

Overall Recommendation:
Princess of the Midnight Ball was a retelling of an unfamiliar fairy tale. This could’ve made it more intriguing and mysterious since I had no prior knowledge of how the story may go, but the story was still fairly predictable from the start. The characters were okay, especially our hero Galen who fits the knight in shining armor stereotype to a T, but no one stuck out as unique. The romance was innocent and cute and that’s not bad, but that doesn’t even give the story a little extra excitement that it clearly needed. Overall, it was decent, but it’s no competition amidst the rather large genre of fairy tale retellings in YA these days.

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