Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: The Princess Curse

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The Princess Curse

In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Sylvania, the prince offers a fabulous reward to anyone who cures 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.

This tale was an intriguing combination of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Beauty and the Beast, and Hades and Persephone.  I'd never seen so many different classic tales combined so seamlessly.
The writing was engaging and fun.  Marrie Haskell did a wonderful job of building up the mystery of the story.  There was suspense as well.  Some parts in the book were downright eerie.  
The fictional country of Sylvania fits nicely into the fifteenth century.  The author builds her world well, and it was easy to envision the (somewhat) peaceful landscape that features in this tale.
The characters were likeable, and certainly not trite.  Their relationships with one another are interesting, if sometimes sad, to observe.  Particularly the main character Raveka's relationship with her father.  I was glad to see it unfold as the book progressed.

However, despite this promising beginning, I found myself disappointed by the end of the book.  
For one thing, I wished that Raveka was older.  The two main themes throughout the book followed Raveka as she solves the mystery of the twelve princesses, and as she finds herself falling in love with... well, without giving away any spoiers, A Certain Character.
However, in my humble opinion, thirteen years is far too young to be falling in love.  Even the character she falls in love with admits that he wishes she were older, and feels badly about suggesting the possibility of a relationship.  
The whole plot would have worked better had Raveka just been a few years older.  As it was, it felt uncomfortable.  
Granted, the romance never became intimate.  Fond thoughts, tense conversations, and romantic dances are about as far as it went.  I still would have prefered her to be older.

The second thing that disappointed me was the way the second half of the book went.  When I first started reading, I was very excited because I saw so much potential in the story.  However, after a certain line in the story if crossed, it felt the like the plot just... fell flat.  It was mostly repetitive dialogue between Raveka and her love interest, and even though I love dialogue, it quickly became boring.  It seemed to drag on forever, and even the new plot twists introduced didn't make it more interesting.
I'm a patient reader, and I look for the good in every story, so it is not often that a book completely loses me in the middle.  I felt badly, because I really wanted to like the book.  

Also, by the time the book ends, half the mysteries have yet to be solved.  There were so many unresolved subplots that it left wondering what on earth happened.  Now, this could be the first book in a series, especially since I've found that that this is the author's first book.  So if I see a sequel come out, I will read it and give the story another chance.  Perhaps a sequel could redeem it.  

Overall, I would give this book three stars.  I would recommend it to people who love twists on fairytales, especially combined fairy tales.  But romance-haters beware; for this is a romance story.  And if you are looking for a romance book in general, there are better stories than this.

Still, The Princess Curse was an interesting read for the most part, and as I said earlier, I am willing to give it another chance, should a sequel be released.  

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-Rayne Speryll


  1. Funny I was just looking into this book the other day, and was rather surprised about the romance considering the girl is 13!!! Nice to hear your thoughts on this! A very thoughtful book review! :)