In some ways this story is a mash-up of two fairy tales, the twelve dancing princesses and beauty and the beast. Twelve princesses disappear every night and return exhausted in the morning with their shoes in tatters; no one knows where they go and the princesses are not talking. Their father offers a reward to whoever can solve the mystery and release them from the curse. The problem is anyone caught watching the princesses at night falls into an endless sleep that ultimately results in death.
Enter Reveka who is training as an herbalist, she dreams of setting up her own workshop away from the noise of the castle but to do this she needs money. Reveka must discover the secret of the princesses and wake the endless sleepers to achieve her dream of independence. Reveka’s quest will take her deep into the underworld where she must brave death and the possibility of losing her immortal soul.
Reveka is not the typical fairy tale heroine, she has definite views on what she wants to do with her life and doesn’t tolerate things getting in her way. It is a little refreshing to have such an opinionated character. I also enjoyed the combination of the two fairy tales with the dynamics of a medieval castle under siege; I think it made the story more interesting for me. This story would be good for readers who like their heroines to be a bit unconventional. This is the first in a series of books by this author, I am looking forward to her next one. Age Range: 6th grade on up.
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell. HarperCollins Children’s Books, NY,NY. 2011. 322pp.