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The Night Dance (Once Upon a Time) Mass Market Paperback – November 22, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Once Upon a Time
  • Mass Market Paperback: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (November 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416905790
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416905790
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–This light, entertaining tale combines the Arthurian legend of the Lady of the Lake, Grimms Twelve Dancing Princesses, and elements of romance novels. After Sir Ethans wife, Vivienne, disappears, he vows that no one shall leave him again. He builds an enormous manor that keeps his 12 daughters from the outside world. A crack in a wall is discovered by the youngest, Rowena, and provides a long-desired escape route. At the battle of Camlan, King Arthur is mortally wounded and his knight Bedivere swears that he will honor his sovereigns final request to return Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake (Vivienne). On his journey, he battles the evil Morgan le Fey to protect the sword and meets a monk who sends him in Rowenas direction. They meet in the woods as the young woman discovers her power of second sight when she finds Viviennes scrying bowl with a woman trapped in it, pleading for help. While searching for answers, Rowena and her sisters discover underground tunnels filled with music. Each night they go there to explore but the sorceress le Fey follows them and casts a spell to make sure they do not find their mother. What follows is fairly predictable and everyone lives happily ever after. Though not as substantive as Robin McKinleys Beauty (HarperCollins, 1978) or Donna Jo Napolis The Magic Circle (Dutton, 1993), this story will be enjoyed by readers who like romance novels and fairy-tale retellings.–Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-10. Part of the publisher's growing line of romantic original paperbacks inspired by favorite tales, Weyn's retelling of "The 12 Dancing Princesses," about enchanted sisters who disappear nightly and return with tattered slippers, is more literal than Dia Calhoun's recent The Phoenix Dance (2005). Weyn does, however, introduce a major new element into the traditional story: she premises her version on Arthurian legend, casting the siblings as pawns in a dispute between sorceresses Vivienne and Morgan La Faye, and a Knight of the Round Table as the youngest sister's love interest. The author of the popular sf thriller The Bar Code Tattoo (2004) makes an admirable effort here to inject literary underpinnings into a mass-market genre novel, although the time spent massaging the imposed Arthurian connections might have been better used positing character-driven explanations for events currently governed by destiny and magic. Try this on your starry-eyed readers of romance as an entree to the more psychologically complex fairy-tale retellings of Donna Jo Napoli, Robin McKinley, or Shannon Hale. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on November 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rowena, the youngest of twelve sisters, has been held a prisoner in her home, along with her elders, since the day her mother disappeared years ago. While her home is larger than a castle, and quite comfortable, living within the walls of it day after day, never seeing sunlight slowly eats away at Rowena, until she cannot take the imprisonment anymore. So, over the course of a few weeks, she breaks a hole in the wall, and each day, when everyone is preoccupied, she wiggles her way through the hole, and dances in a magical forest. Over time, she invites her sisters to join her. But when their father, Sir Ethan, discovers that their slippers are tattered and torn each morning, he posts a challenge to all the men in the village that whoever is able to tell him where the girls are slipping off to at night, can marry the daughter of his choice. Meanwhile, Rowena has already had her heart captured by Bedivere, a knight who must return the powerful sword, Excalibur, to a mysterious lake. Bedivere wants nothing more than to marry Rowena, but Sir Ethan's challenge is his only way. Now Rowena must choose if revealing her secret to Bedivere is truly worth it...

I have read every ONCE UPON A TIME...book since they were first released. Some are marvelous, while others are mediocre. Suzanne Weyn's THE NIGHT DANCE - based on the story THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES - is one of those installments that is great. The characters are enchanting, and the descriptions of the magical forest, and lake where Excalibur must be returned are magical. Weyn's descriptive talent truly brings the story to life, so much so that the reader feels as if they are dancing alongside Rowena and her sisters in the forest. Overall, this is a magical story. One that must be read by all fans of fairytales.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Huston on March 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Lately, I've been exploring the world of rewritten and revised children's stories, most of which are the fairy tales that most of us grew up with. One of my favorites is by Hans Christian Anderson, about the twelve princesses who drove their father mad by appearing every morning with their slippers in tatters -- after being locked in their bedroom every night.

Sir Ethan finds himself chasing a boar in the middle of a dense forest when the boar rolls on the ground, creating a lake and transforming into a beautiful woman. She is Vivienne, a sorceress from Avalon, and both she and Sir Ethan fall in love with one another. Sir Ethan settles down with her, and builds a home of peace, while Vivienne quickly drops a litter of twins every year, each one a girl, until six years have passed, and there are twelve little girls about the place, that she calls her 'princesses.'

But when the youngest pair are toddlers, Vivienne is wandering in the woods near her home, when she is attacked by her sister, the wicked Morgan La Fay. Morgan imprisons Vivienne in the lake, creating a barrier that prevents her from either returning to the mortal world, or going on to Avalon. And heartbroken Sir Ethan finds himself with twelve motherless daughters to raise.

Thinking that Vivienne has willingly abandoned him and his daughters, he decides to imprison his children in his manor house, by enclosing them in high walls, and never letting them enter the outside world. And the youngest, Rowena, grows up filled with a hunger to break out of the walls that surround her.

When she finds a crack in the wall, she steathily chips away at it until she can escape into the woods.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karen Kumley on October 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The concept of this book is brilliant: a melding of the fairy tale `The twelve dancing princesses' with some of the legends about the death of King Arthur. Unfortunately, Ms. Weyn's writing skills were not up to the task she set herself. Her prose is consistently stilted and overly ornate with such sentences as: "Rowena still sympathized with the trapped restlessness she knew her sister felt." and "There was a murmur of approval as this seemed like a fun enterprise."

Once I started reading, the story was compelling enough to pull me through. So, if you are willing to endure less than perfect writing for a good story, by all means read this book. If, however, you are like me and would be pained every time you read a sentence like the above, I advise you to skip this one and read `The twelve dancing princesses' by Robin McKinley.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristen Sanecki on June 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Almost magically, Sir Ethan of Colchester finds himself pulled to Vivienne and is shortly living in a small cottage with his wife and six pairs of daughters beside an enchanting lake. Dismissing claims of his wife being a witch, he cannot altogether ignore her disappearances into the night, until one evening she does not return.

Sir Ethan eventually searches his wife's bearings, finding jewels of all kinds, and sells them to make the beginnings of his fortune. The house is renovated and a wall is built to prevent anything from entering or exiting. But no one can forget the lake, or what was until Vivienne's sudden leaving causes the strange lake to disappear.

As the story unravels itself, the role of Camelot becomes clear. Not only is this a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, but is a tale of Morgan le Fey, Mordred, Merlin, Arthur, Bedivere, and the Lady of the Lake. It is told in the points of Sir Ethan of Colchester (the father), Lady Vivienne of the Lake (the mother), Sir Bedivere (gorgeous Knight of the Round Table), Eleanore (the oldest), Rowena (the youngest), and Morgan le Fey (the wicked witch). They each tie in their own part to the story, and make it interesting to read. As your learning grows of the dealings in Avalon and the fate of Vivienne, so does your intrigue for the characters and the adventures of Excalibur. And what would a classic fairy tale be without a little romance?

The problem I found is that the culture portrayed was nothing like that in the Arthurian era. The people seemed to hold no respect for someone so great as Bedivere, nor did they seem to care about Arthur and his endeavors. But, nonetheless, it was an appealing story, and my favorite in the Once Upon a Time Series...
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