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Princess of the Midnight Ball (Twelve Dancing Princesses) Hardcover – January 20, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 269 customer reviews

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Wings of Fire series
Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy
Wings of Fire Book Two: The Lost Heir
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Brothers Grimm tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses is vibrantly retold and set in a fictionalized nineteenth-century Europe. Galen, a soldier (and knitter) returning home from war, encounters an old woman who gives him an invisibility cloak and yarn possessing magical powers. While working as a gardener at the palace, he encounters the princess, Rose, and her 11 younger sisters. Because of a secret bargain their mother made with the evil King Under Stone, the princesses are cursed to dance each night till their shoes are worn ragged. Aided by the good magic held in his yarn, Galen solves the puzzle that has stumped many a prince and earns Rose’s love and hand in marriage. Though cursed and in need of rescue, the sisters are feisty and cunning—not passive victims of their fate. Galen’s magical knitting patterns will appeal to teens fond of this trendy hobby. This is a well-realized and fast-paced fantasy-romance that will find favor among fans of fairy tales, feisty heroines, and dashing young men with strength, cunning, and sensitivity. Grades 6-10. --Heather Booth

About the Author

Jessica Day George is the author of Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, Dragon Slippers, and its sequel, Dragon Flight. Originally from Idaho, she studied at Brigham Young University and lived in Delaware and New Jersey before settling down in Salt Lake City, Utah. She had been a movie store clerk, librarian, bookseller, and school office lady before she got her big break. Jessica lives with her husband, their young son, and a five-pound Maltese named Pippin in a house that needs to be vacuumed much too often.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Series: Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599903229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903224
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #898,975 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By DJLA531 VINE VOICE on January 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you are familiar with the Grimm fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses, then you already know the main plot points of this retelling. Author Jessica Day George adds depth to the story of the young solider charged with finding out why the kingdom's 12 princesses wear out their dancing shoes every night by setting it in a place with magic even darker than the original.

Galen makes a fine hero, he's a noble orphan who knits and is kind to old ladies (traits which serve him well as the story progresses). He's taken in by his uncle, the King's gardener, and that's how he meets the cursed Rose and her sisters. Galen and Rose are the only characters that we ever really get to know beyond one defining characteristic - the other 11 sisters run together in a haze of flower names and are treated more as a group than individuals. The romantic elements of the story were also a bit thin, even for someone like me who isn't necessarily a fan of romance.

Despite knowing the fairy tale, I found this retelling adequately suspenseful and read eagerly, rooting for Galen to break the curse and usher in a happily ever after. 3 1/2 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I have always been a lover of fairy tales. One of my favorites from childhood has always been the story of the 12 Dancing Princesses. So, I was excited when this book caught my eye during a recent trip to Barnes and Noble.
The story begins as Galen, a lifelong soldier despite his youth, is returning home after the completion of a war which has lasted 12 long years. Orphaned and alone, he seeks out his Aunt and Uncle. Galen's uncle is employed as the royal family gardner, and offers the hard working youth a position in the family firm. It is in the gardens that Galen first meets Princess Rose, the eldest of 12 royal princesses, and finds himself swept up in an unexpected adventure as he tries to free Rose and her sisters from a powerful curse.
There are many things to like about this book. Galen, the hero, is a charming character, and not just because he is an accomplished knitter. I was rooting for him to succeed after the first few pages. I found Galen's history particularly interesting. The author also did a nice job of including many of the details from the original fairy tale that I know and love. The story flows along quickly, and there really never is a lull in the action. Young adults will likely appreciate this retelling as it provides a handsome and dashing, yet kind and sensitive hero, and some wholesome romance. The character of Princess Rose is also no fainting blossom waiting to be rescued. She and her sisters all seem to be doing their best to save themselves.
I did find the writing at times a bit disjointed. At some points, I found myself noticing particular sentences that didn't seem to flow very well. For example the author described a character as, "he was so very much not happy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With one exception, all of the recent retellings of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" have been spectacularly mediocre. There's Dia Calhoun's overtly psychological The Phoenix Dance, Suzanne Weyn's overwrought The Night Dance (Once Upon a Time), and Juliet Marillier's forgettable Wildwood Dancing.

Princess of the Midnight Ball blows them all out of the water. Seamless storytelling meets understated magic, sure-footed prose, and surreptitious knitting in this satisfying retelling.

Yes, knitting. Don't ask me to explain, because part of the book's appeal lies in seeing how Jessica Day George takes the framework of the original and makes it her own. Suddenly, all the logic gaps, unmotivated actions, and rough edges of the original are given a context in which they make sense.

As the story opens, the kingdom of Westfalin has just ended a long war. Eighteen year old soldier Galen has had enough violence for a lifetime and is on his way back to civilian life. En route to the capital, he encounters an odd old woman who gives him an even odder cloak and two balls of yarn: one fine and white to protect, the other strong and black to bind. And with a few enigmatic words of advice, she's gone.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, the king frets over both his troubled kingdom and his twelve daughters, who mysteriously wear out their slippers every third night.
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Format: Hardcover
A beautifully written fantasy novel based on the fairy tale "Twelve Dancing Princesses." There are many delightful twists that make this story all its own. The hero is a wonderful character, and he knits! The princesses are appealing, and I got caught up in their conflict. The plot is involved and compelling, and has enough depth to satisfy the tastes of adventure lovers everywhere.

I have loved the author's previous novels, so when I say this is my favorite so far, that's saying a lot. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys fantasy or fairy tales or adventure novels.
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