From 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.
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!