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The Princess Curse Hardcover

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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: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #857,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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?

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's first novel, THE PRINCESS CURSE, was a Junior Library Guild selection and a finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature. Her second novel, HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS, won the Schneider Family Book Award 2014. THE CASTLE BEHIND THORNS is also a Junior Library Guild selection, and is forthcoming on May 27, 2014 from Katherine Tegan Books.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 72 customer reviews
The flow was good the story great and the main character developed well.
Reveka's story borrows plotlines and images from classic fairy tales and myths such as The 12 Dancing Princesses, Persephone and Hades, and Beauty and the Beast.
Lorel Shea
And even though it is definitely a "girl's book," readers of all ages and genders will enjoy the story and the characters between the covers of the book.
KB reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 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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9 of 9 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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6 of 6 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Luciano VINE VOICE on September 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Reveka, reunited with her father after a childhood being raised in a convent, is living a decent enough life. She is apprenticed to her castle's herbalist and is learning a great deal about healing with plants. She dreams of a life in the future that truly belongs to her, secluded in a nunnery and surrounded by plants. The only way to make her dream a reality is with a large sum of money.

Also within the castle where Reveka lives and works are twelve princesses, who are trapped by some sort of terrible curse. Every night while they are sleeping, something happens that tears their beautiful slippers to shreds. They must be dancing up a storm, but they insist they never leave the room. Their father, the king, has promised a fabulous reward to anyone who can find out the secret of the princesses' nighttime activities. Anyone who has ever tried, though, has either fallen into an unwakeable slumber or has disappeared entirely.

Reveka knows that the promised reward could buy her freedom and happiness, and she is sure that with her medicinal knowledge she will be qualified to cure the curse of the princesses. Soon, though, she finds herself over her head in a situation far more complex than she ever could have imagined.

I loved the whole concept of this story and the way the author managed to weave together the pieces of different fairy tales and myths into one cohesive tale. Reveka is an excellent character, spunky and thoughtful with a mind of her own. I liked the way the mystery emerged and the personalities of the characters were able to shine through. I hope there will be a sequel to this book; I would look forward to reading it.
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