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The Princess Curse Hardcover – September 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062008137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062008138
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #289,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Imaginative, intriguing and spirited…In this impressive debut, the author artfully weaves humor, suspense, magic and myth into an intricate plot. (Kirkus Reviews)

With a good sense of humor, an able and empowered protagonist, and a highly original take on this tale, Haskell’s story gives readers much to enjoy. (Publishers Weekly)

Haskell’s first novel offers a well-paced fantasy with an involving first-person narrative. (Booklist)

[An] intriguing mix of fairy tale, Romanian folklore, and classic mythology…readers will likely be as anxious to return to the Underworld as Reveka. (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

From the Back Cover

Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?

Customer Reviews

The characters are both sympathetic and lovable.
J.L. McHale
Things are wrapped up nicely, and one can end this book feeling like it's complete, with the reader given an idea of what Reveka's future will hold.
Misty Braden
The Princess Curse is a nice mix of a well known fairy tale and various mythologies, with likeable characters and an interesting plot.
JenkinsonK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Mo VINE VOICE on August 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Take the fairy tale 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses.' Add in a dash of 'Beauty and the Beast,' the Greek underworld, Romanian mythical creatures, a 13 year old heroine, and not one, but two terrible curses. It's an unlikely mix, but it works. Merrie Haskell's The Princess Curse is a thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable fantasy that doesn't shy away from hard decisions and compromising situations.

The story starts off familiarly enough. There's something rotten in the state of Sylvania, a fictional Eastern European nation set in the 15th century. Every night, Prince Vasile's twelve daughters mysteriously disappear from their tower bedroom and return exhausted, with their slippers in tatters. Anyone who observes the princesses either disappears completely or falls into a deep, seemingly enchanted sleep. But if the risks are high, so are the rewards for breaking the curse: marriage with one of the princesses or a fabulous dowry.

Reveka, the herbalist's sharp-witted apprentice, dreams of having her own herbery in a convent, and that dowry is exactly what she needs to make it happen. (She knows the nuns would never take her without it.) But breaking the curse is no simple matter, and the stakes are far higher than she could have imagined. From invisibility spells to a mysterious stranger in the woods, to a dying world she didn't even know existed, Reveka is soon over her head in magic, treachery, and choices that affect not only her life, but also whole worlds.

The disparate plot lines come together cleverly and writing is sure-footed, but it's really the characters and the relationships between them that make The Princess Curse click for me.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Becky (in NOLA) TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As another reviewer said, this book is a mix of several fairy tales and myths. There is some Beauty and the Beast, Greek Myths like Hades and water nymphs, and, of course, the 12 princesses who dance each night under a curse.

The author, Merrie Haskell, does not write down to her audience, which I think is tweeners- 11 to 15 maybe. The book has some mature concepts but not anything a person of this age can't handle. The character of Reveka is intelligent and shows an awareness of other people that the selfish princesses don't. She makes an excellent and strong heroine.

My sons were home schooled and this book would have an excellent teaching book, even though it's geared towards girls there isn't a reason a boy couldn't read and enjoy it. We would have started with identifying the different referenced stories and fairy tales, even seeing if they could find the few passing references to the historical dracula and studied Hildegard of Bingen, and how the author used real historical people to anchor her timeline and story.

The area and time of history could have been used for geography. Then we would have read the originating stories to discuss how the author wove them together into her own book. Finally a trip to the library for a herbal, the store or health food store and we could have whipped up a few teas and tansies. I loved books like this, that not only were good stories but would lead to other avenues of discussion or exploration or interest.

This is one of my favorite kind of books for young people, the story is interesting, the characters strong, and it branches out and opens many interesting doorways for them to explore.

I really enjoyed this book, enjoyed the mystery and how Reveka solved it. The ending has left room for a sequel that I would buy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Milder on September 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For some reason the Kindle edition isn't linked with the hardcover so I thought I'd put my review here so it doesn't look so lonely... I found this an enjoyable quick read. I'm older than the YA target audience and I found the pacing to be excellent, never felt the story lag. The prose is solid, good for younger readers but doesn't feel dumbed down at all. Nice story, enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Lynn Wagner on September 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This review was a part of Mythological Mondays on my blog, featured at [...]Please visit to get more out of this review!

You might be thinking THE PRINCESS CURSE by Merrie Haskell is about THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES!" This is where you'd be WRONG. Well, maybe not wrong, exactly, but not right, either. The summary of this book is very much about THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES...and if you see the book in person, the flap talks about how this classic tale is mashed up with another well-loved story, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. But nowhere do they mention that this ALSO features elements of the PERSEPHONE AND HADES tale. Yes, you read that right. If GLEE can get away with mashing up a modern-day hit like Beyoncé's "Halo" with 80s pop-hit "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & the Waves and have it sound good...REALLY good...then why can't a double-dose of fairy tale mashed up with a swish of mythology also do the trick? Because, bookworms, this recipe WORKS. It's delicious and perfect, the right mix of sweet and salty. If you told me the ingredients beforehand, I would have said that such a story would have never worked...and I would have been wrong, wrong, wrong. THE PRINCESS CURSE is the epitome of a "Why didn't I think of that?" novel.

So what, exactly, is THE PRINCESS CURSE? The novel centers around a girl named Reveka who is an apprentice to the castle's herbalist. The castle where she works harbors twelve princesses who dance their shoes to pieces each night. There is a huge reward for anyone who can solve the mystery of where they go, but anyone caught spying on the princesses at night either "disappears" or falls into a sleep from which they never awaken.
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More About the Author

Merrie Haskell grew up half in Michigan, half in North Carolina. She works in a library with over 7 million books, and finds this to be just about the right number.

Merrie won the Schneider Family Book Award in 2014 for HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS, and was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature in 2013 for THE PRINCESS CURSE. Her third book, THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS, is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Visit her website at merriehaskell.com

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