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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: 1.2 x 5.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,812 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?


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

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 77 customer reviews
The characters are both sympathetic and lovable.
J.L. Cocca
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 para on September 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
There are great rewards in store for whomever breaks the curse Sylvania's princess suffer, but the cost of doing so may be greater than determined apprentice herbalist Reveka suspects...

I'm a big fan of unique takes on familiar stories. The Princess Curse is at it's core an expanded reimagining of the fairytale "The Twelve Princesses," but also has heavy influences from other folklore and myths (most notably the Greek tale of Persephone). It's all combined skillfully. Reveka is a great protagonist - smart and strong willed despite her shortcomings and being in over her head. The writing style is solid and the story well-built using a variety of good supporting characters.

I found the story itself lost steam for me roughly halfway through (where one major story inspiration replaces the other one). I loved the first part, as layers of intrigue and secrets were pulled away as I followed Reveka's efforts, but while still technically sound the later part of the book wasn't as engaging. Again - there's nothing wrong with it and the quality of the writing doesn't drop, but personally I found myself losing interest. Your milage may vary.

While a bit uneven for me, overall The Princess Curse is an inventive blending of classic folktales and anyone who enjoys this type of thing should consider taking a look.
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