Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
As the crown princess, Rose is never without a dance partner. She and her eleven sisters are treated to beautiful gowns, slippers, and dances at party after party in their father’s palace. But their evenings do not end when the guests return home. Instead, Rose and her sisters must travel deep into the earth to the wicked King Under Stone’s palace. There, the girls are cursed to dance each night, even when they grow exhausted or ill.
Many princes have tried – and failed – to break the spell. But then Rose meets Galen, a young soldier-turned-gardener with an eye for adventure. Together they begin to unravel the mystery. To banish the curse, they’ll need an invisibility cloak, enchanted silver knitting needles, and, of course, true love.
Princess of the Midnight Ball is a fantastic retelling of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Cursed to dance at night for the King Under Stone, Rose and her sisters despair of ever breaking the curse. Soon their country is thrown into turmoil and cries of witchcraft when the plight of the princesses becomes known. Only Galen, a soldier recently returned home and working in the palace gardens, has the strength of will – and heart – to discover a way to save the twelve sisters from their fate.
I adore Galen. He’s such a nice boy! He has known only war; being born to a career soldier and his wife, Galen has been on the front lines from an extremely young age. An orphan, he travels to the capitol city in order to find the rest of his mother’s family. Once there, he takes a position helping his uncle in the palace gardens. Galen is extremely polite, loyal and hard working. He respects his aunt and uncle, and doesn’t disregard the youngest princesses just because of their age. He always tries to cheer them up and keep them (all) safe. The twelve princesses are named after flowers. It’s a little confusing keeping them straight all the time (besides the oldest and the youngest ones), but Rose is the main princess to know. Rose is the oldest, and deeply cares for her siblings. She’s very refined and poised, and has a protective streak a mile wide. She would do anything to keep her sisters safe (and she does). Rose can keep her head in a tough situation and has strength to spare.
The flow of the action and storyline was done very well. I was never bored, but neither was I overwhelmed with information and activity. The mysteries of the plot begin to build right away with the Queen visiting the King Under Stone and when Galen meets a strange woman on the side of the road. Add in the fact that the princesses are cursed to never speak of their plight to anyone. The reader receives more information than the characters, so it’s not quite a mystery. Instead you find yourself wishing that Galen could hear you and just see what’s in front of his face (obvious details to us, but not to him). The idea isn’t so much to find out what’s wrong with the princesses, but how Galen is going to save them from dancing every night. Right up until the end you can’t be sure if he will succeed or not, and the last few action scenes are wicked.
Even though it’s based on a fairy tale, Princess of the Midnight Ball is set in a time period that seems to be a mash-up of a real time and place. The countries resemble Germany, Belgium, Rome etc., and it is close to the start of the inquisition – the witch hunts that swept through Europe. The story had that traditional fairy tale feel to it, but the setting made it just a little bit more familiar. Princess of the Midnight Ball is a masterful adventure full of magic, love and chivalry, proving that even the worst events can lead to happy endings.