In the fifteenth-century kingdom of Sylvania, the prince offers a fabulous reward to anyone who cures the curse that forces the princesses to spend each night dancing to the point of exhaustion. Everyone who tries disappears or falls into an enchanted sleep. Thirteen-year-old Reveka decides to attempt to break the curse despite the danger. Unravelling the mystery behind the curse leads Reveka to the Underworld, and to save the princesses, Reveka will have to risk her soul. (Amazon)
Reviewed by Valette M.
THE PRINCESS CURSE is a gem. And yes. This will be a raving post. I could go on an on about these characters, but for your sakes I will keep it brief...ish. Reveka is only thirteen, but demonstrates the maturity of those who have dealt primarily with adults their whole lives.. In fact, often times she was more mature than the adults around her, demonstrating her true character by staying true to what she believed and being willing to sacrifice for those she loved. Her age provided a perfect perspective for the plot. There was an interesting dynamic between Reveka and her father, an irritation/adoration type of thing, but his motives were seamless. At first I suspected Minhas (a former cowherd) of being a hero of the story, and in a way he is. But he's not the stereotypical hero type, and he's much better because of that. And Dragos was perfect, as a character. His strengths and flaws gave him a visible depth. His past is incredibly intriguing.
This plot is a remix of Twelve Dancing Princesses and Beauty and the Beast. The Twleve Dancing princesses portion would be fairly standard, except it doesn't take place from the perspective of the princesses but from one of their servant's. The princesses are under a curse, shrouded in a mystery from which countless have fallen into a comatose state attempting to break. Someone must break it. Who better than Reveka? But breaking the curse is barely half of the plot. Finding herself wrapped up in something far bigger than she is, Reveka must decide what matters to her most, and what's worth fighting for. The rest is even better, but if I tell you, it would be a bit of a spoiler.
I found this book in the library's junior fiction section, but it can easily be enjoyed by all ages. Merrie Haskell does a marvelous job of keeping the fairy tales' classic feel while introducing her own flair and sense of style. Reveka's engaging matter-of-fact manner mixed with the creative worlds Merrie Haskell paints make this book a definite re-read.
Market: Young Adult
Mature Themes: Abduction