Princess of the Midnight Ball was written by Jessica Day George. It was published in 2009 by Bloomsbury.
“Princess Rose is the eldest of twelve sisters condemned to dance each night for the wicked King Under Stone in his palace deep within the earth. It is a curse that has haunted the girls since their birth—and only death will set them free.
Then Rose meets Galen, a young soldier-turned-gardener with an eye for adventure and a resolve that matches her own, and freedom suddenly begins to seem a little less impossible. To defeat the king and his dark court, they will need one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love.”
Every time I read an adaptation of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” I can’t help but make comparisons to the sublime Entwined. I will endeavor not to fall into a comparison game for this book, which is actually quite different from Entwined and really only brought up fond memories of the latter.
Princess of the Midnight Ball is fairly lore-heavy, and I love it when authors take the time to build up that lore within their story. The world is very well-developed with the lore and I enjoyed the little aspects of it that George throws in, not to mention the plot-related aspects. The story itself is incredibly close to the original fairy tale as well, with an added relationship between Rose and Galen (and of course, the lore expanded to include the King Under Stone).
I did think Lily’s story line at the end came out of nowhere and seemed a bit too Fairy Tale Happy Ending Convenient. I also thought the witchcraft bit with the “They Must Burn!” bishop was an old, tired trope to include, not to mention stereotypical. I’m not quite sure what the point of including that was, either, except to generate more tension perhaps. At least not all of the bishops were like that.
I also really liked how Galen basically knitted his way to victory. His fight with the King Under Stone is 90% knitting and 10% shooting a gun, which is awesome. Lily also gets to fire a gun, which was awesome as well, since she gets to shoot a gun and wear a ball gown at the same time.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Young Adult
Why hadn’t he fallen asleep as well? What were they to do if he was wide awake at midnight? Hope rose in her bosom. If Galen could resist the sleeping spell that had affected all the other suitors, then he might be able to uncover their secret and…what? Die horribly? She grimaced, her hope fading.
“Is something the matter?” Galen gave her a bland look.
“Oh, look at the time!” Jonquil jumped to her feet, almost knocking Hyacinth off the window seat. “I’ve got to change my shoes and—Why is he awake?”
Princess of the Midnight Ball is an adaptation of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” that really expands on the lore and world to create a beautiful setting with a predictable, but cute romance, and a hero who basically wins by knitting. There were a few convenient moments, as well as some stereotypical ones, but overall Princess of the Midnight Ball was a delight to read.
You can buy this here: Princess of the Midnight Ball