Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{December 9, 2012}   {ARC Review and GIVEAWAY} Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

princessFrom Goodreads: When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor’s twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it’s not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse.

The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all.


I hope it’s safe to assume that we’ve all heard the fairy tale, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” by Brothers Grimm, concerning the twelve princesses that must dance all night due to a curse put upon them.  To be honest, I haven’t thought about that fairytale in a long time, not until recently, when I came across Princess of the Silver Woods, by Jessica Day George.  And let me tell you… this is a phenomenal story, twisting a old fairytale with others we so love and cherish—namely, “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Robin Hood.”

Lately I’ve been very taken with fairytales.  I’m not sure if it’s my inner child making its way to the top of the grid, or if I’m just reminiscent, but I’ve begun to really search out fairytales.  I just recently taught “Little Red Riding Hood”to my students, using five different critical approaches to really dive into the story and pull it apart, and it was a blast.  I also recently found the TV series Once Upon A Time, and, though I initially didn’t find it all that enthralling, I kept watching and ended up finishing the entire first season in a weekend.  Then I caught up on the second season as well because I just couldn’t get enough… so, of course, I jumped at the chance to read an ARC of Princess of the Silver Woods.  And boy, was it good!

George has really created an intricate world surrounding the text of the fairytale.  Embellished and detailed, with some amazing paranormal aspects that, in my opinion, take the cake, this story is a true winner.  And I really, really enjoyed it, especially as this novel takes place after the curse of the twelve dancing daughters has been broken—we’re finally given more to the story, just as every little girl has probably tried to surmise upon hearing that “they lived happily ever after,” as most fairy tales so aptly end.  But we’re always interested in the “what happens next” question, and in this case, that’s exactly what George delivers, with a kick, as it were.

Petunia is a great heroine, and I love that she and her sisters have an extremely well rounded relationship.  With eleven sisters, I’d suspect a lot of hatred and betrayal, but these princesses are indeed wonderful, and they’re definitely not foolish, either. Petunia is the youngest, but she has a penchant for intrigue and mystery, and she’s not afraid to fight back when all she loves is in danger.  In fact, none of the sisters are afraid to fight back, though the dancing incident from so long ago has damaged a few in terms of their psyche.  And yet, all the circumstances surrounding them cause them to bond together even more, and I find that extremely refreshing.

Oliver, though pegged as an evil bandit, really is a wonderful young man, and I loved watching him grapple with the idea of saving his family name, or saving the princess Petunia, the daughter of the man who destroyed everything Oliver ever had.  In this good versus evil struggle, we learn much about the powers of magic and the curses true hold, and I found it all extremely intriguing, especially as the many different fairy tales all seem to be morphed together.

Then, imagine my surprise, and delight, to note that this novel is actually the third in a series!  I think the best part about this information is that this novel, Princess of the Silver Woods, stands very well by itself.  George sets everything up to explain itself, and though it alludes to events that have happened in the past, which clued me in that this was indeed a book in a series, it is not mandatory to read the other novels in order to understand what is happening, and that is what I really enjoyed about this novel.  Of course, I will be reading the other books in the series, and have already purchased them from Amazon, and cannot wait until the holidays when I have more time to sit and read them.  I am especially excited because, if I understand correctly, book one, Princess of the Moonlight Ball, chronicles the events from  “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” as we know it, and book two, Princess of Glass, follows the sisters as they travel to different kingdom’s, but also adds in the twist of “Cinderella.”  So, if Princess of the Silver Woods is any indication, then the prequels are going to be just as phenomenal, and I can’t wait to read them!  Five stars.

5 stars

Bloomsbury Children’s Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this phenomenal book prior to its release on December 11, 2012.

They ALSO are being extremey gracious in GIVING AWAY a HARDCOVER FIRST EDITION of PRINCESS OF THE SILVER WOODS by Jessica Day George.

To enter you must:

-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)

-Have a USA address to win

This contest is open to USA entrants only (sorry)  and will end at 12:01am EST on December 23rd. The winner will be announced later that day, and will receive email notification! Please read my giveaway policy and leave me a comment!


Ann Roberts says:

I would love to read this book now! I love fairy tale re-tellings, and I started reading them in college with Zel and Ella Enchanted. I think there’s a part of all of us who never gives up the dream of being saved from evil by the handsome prince or getting to be the princess! I don’t remember the 12 dancing princesses very well, but when authors mix their fairy tales together, I love the imaginative twists! It’s always so interesting!

Great review, as always! I knew this was third in a series, but it’s good to hear that you really didn’t feel left out of a lot of stuff coming in on this third book without having read the first two. That’s a plus! I’d love to read this, and have had the first two on my TBR/wish list for a while now. (Actually bought both of them at $1.99 on special at Amazon for my Kindle, but then returned them, and of course now I’m kicking myself for that, because now I think I’d like the whole series SO MUCH having read your review!!) This book in particular sounds pretty fascinating with the combination of the fairytales, I look forward to reading it. THANKS!

Both books 1 and 2 are on Kindle for 1.59 right now. :)

What a wonderful review. Instead of simply doing a summary, and a few bits that you liked or disliked, you actually went into great detail about the strong points of the book. The inclusion of the fact that it was part of a series came across as much as a surprise to the reader as I’m sure it did for you, making one not only want to read this book, but each of the others as well.

I loved the other two princess books and am definitely looking forward to this one as well!

Hollow May says:

OMYGAWSH! I want to read this!! I am a sucker for fairytale retellings, and I am in love with that cover. Thank you for the review =)

Years ago, the Fairytale Theatre’s presentation (shown on Maryland’s PBS station) of the Twelve Dancing Princes made this one of my favorite fairytales. I haven’t read or seen many other retellings of this fairytale and am so intriqued to read this one. I love when writers mesh parts of different fairytales together to create something altogether new and exciting. Gread review!

Kirsten says:

I adore fairytale retellings, but I’ve never read one about the twelve dancing princesses. That sound be neat. Also, I really like series where all the books are able to stand alone. This sounds like a winner, thanks for the review :)

Amy says:

Wonderful review! I love fairytale retellings, although Robin Hood is one of my least favorite tales, I like the concept for this one especially since it combines Robin Hood with Red Riding Hood. I love Jessica Day George’s heroines :)

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