Returning home from the war, young Galen finds work with his mother’s family in the royal gardens. There he learns that the king’s twelve daughters have a secret: every night they dance their shoes to tatters, but no one knows how or why. When prince after prince tries and fails to find the answer, and the family is haunted by accusations of witchcraft, Galen decides to help. Armed with a pair of silver knitting needles and an invisibility cloak given to him by a strange old woman, he follows the princesses and unlocks the secret of their curse.
I think I started this book, then kind of forgot about it and was distracted by another book. I was in a book slump and saw this on my shelf and thought, “Hey, why not?”
I enjoyed Princess of the Midnight Ball. It was a light, easy read and fairly short; about 300 pages, I think.
I liked Rose and Galen, the main characters. While their characters never really developed, they were still likable characters.
However, the book does suffer from vastly underdeveloped characters. Since this is a retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, naturally, there are twelve sisters. Rose, the oldest, was the only sister who really got any character development. Lily and Jonquil, the next two oldest, got some character development, but that was it. We only learned about most of the other characters through what the author told us: “At fourteen, Violet was a prodigy at playing the pianoforte and had the voice of an angel.” And that would be the only character development we ever got of that character. One sister, if I remember correctly, was only mentioned once in one sentence. It was something like: “Peony, Poppy, and Lilac piled into the boat.” (Not a direct quote) And that was the only time Lilac was ever mentioned. So, while the leads were likable, there were also nine underdeveloped characters.
My other complaint is that the prose was occasionally awkward. Like the sentence, “He was so very much not happy.” This wasn’t a major problem, but when there was awkward writing, it could pull me out of the story.
The plot moved at a swift pace, which I liked. The chapters were short and it was easy to keep on reading. I actually liked that the book wasn’t long, since the book never wandered or felt lost. I appreciated that.
I also really liked the setting of this book. While most fairy-tale retellings are set in Ye Olde Medieval Tymes, this book was more based off 1700s-1800s Europe. I thought Westfalin was an interesting setting, although, since the book was pretty short, it didn’t get too in-depth on the setting, if that makes sense.
Overall, Princess of the Midnight Ball was a light read and an interesting retelling of “Twelve Dancing Princesses.” If you’re looking for a fluffier read or a nice fairy-tale retelling, I’d recommend this book.