Monday, October 19, 2015

"A Unique Rendition Of A Classic" The Princess Curse {Book Review}

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell Review

The Princess Curse is a beautiful book that combines The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Beauty and the Beast, along with Pagan and Greek mythology.

AMAZON|GOODREADS|BOOK DEPOSITORY

Title: The Princess Curse
Author: Merrie Haskell 
Series: Stand Alone
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Romance
Source: Library

Merrie Haskell’s middle-grade fantasy novel Princess Curse is an imaginative retelling of the fairy tales The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Beauty and the Beast.

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Sylvania, the prince offers a fabulous reward to anyone who curses the curse that forces the princesses to spend each night dancing to the point of exhaustion. Everyone who tries disappears or falls into an enchanted sleep.

Thirteen-year-old Reveka, a smart, courageous herbalist’s apprentice, decides to attempt to break the curse despite the danger. Unravelling the mystery behind the curse leads Reveka to the Underworld, and to save the princesses, Reveka will have to risk her soul.

Princess Curse combines magic, suspense, humor, and adventure into a story perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine.


Rating

★★★★

Favorite Quote

"Some go into the princess's' tower and never return." "What, are they eating people?" Pa raised an eyebrow.


Merrie Haskell weaves a unique and masterful tale that entraps from the first word. When it comes to most books it take a least a few pages before I really get into the story, but with The Princess Curse I was in love from the very first page. (Haha cabbage bath water)

Reveka is an intelligent herbalist's apprentice, who grew up in a nunnery, she does not plan on marrying and instead aspires to live out her days as the Herbalist of a nunnery. However to do that she will need money or in other words the dowry that is offered as a reward for the the curse that plagues the twelve princesses of Sylvania.

Many others have failed while trying to solve this puzzling riddle and have either ended up falling into a wake-less sleep or disappearing altogether, however Reveka doesn't seem to take the curse all too seriously or in her words, "It is a curse of shoes and naps” But soon enough she'll discovers that underneath the surface, the plight the princess's face is much more than what she believes.

Spoilers
The villain, oh yes, I loved the villain. He had depth and unlike most he had a real purpose, he wasn't just evil for the sake of evil. And in some ways his deeds were justified (to some degree), which I found extremely intriguing. Normally in books particularly fairytales and their retellings, the character are very black and white, the heroine is always pure good and the villain wholly evil.

Which is of course really not realistic, in life there is always more to both sides. Also on the lines of that, I really loved the the part where Reveka was considering taking the "diamonds", it shows that she's not completely perfect and has faults and moments of selfishness like any regular person

Last one, I promise, but I've been dying to discuss the romance between Reveka and Dragos (Frumos) At first I was kind of cheering for Mihas, I thought he was pretty cute. But then Frumos came into the scene, and it was kind of weird cuz honestly I could feel that Reveka was falling for him, and the age gap was a little cringy, because she's 13 and he's most likely much older. But in the end I do feel that the relationship between Dragos and Reveka ended up being pretty sweet and by the end of the book I didn't really have anymore issues so I think the romance is a yes for me.

The cover is beautiful, that I can not deny, however while The Princess Curse is certainly an eye pleaser it just doesn't fully capture the essence of Ms. Haskell words. The cover art takes largely after the new trend of using slightly cartoonish digital art. So in result this cover literally screams Middle Grade, but don't let that fool you. I expected this to be a light hearted retelling, matching the spirit of Disney, but ended up with a beautiful rendition of an old classic, with a dark strand weaved in.


I expected this to be a light hearted 
retelling, matching the spirit of Disney


I was skeptical as I started the book, I thought that it might come too close to some of the other retelling of the twelve dancing princesses I've read, however this story quickly took a different turn. The Princess Curse nods toward The Myth of Persephone, which was really unique, you rarely see mythology mixed with fairy tales if ever, and I love the end result!

At the beginning of the book we know next to nothing about the curse, and it is a little bit slow, but it quickens and Reveka's antics keep it lively. And toward the middle, the plot gets to the top of the hill and starts hurling toward the end.


Final Thoughts


To sum all that aimless chatter up I'd say that The Princess Curse was written beautifully and by all means well done. Whether, you're an old traveler of fairytale retellings, or a newby just dipping in toes, I'd recommend this book to you. I eagerly await any future YA books from Merrie Haskell.