Wendy Archibald

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

In Children's, Fantasy, Reviews, YA on January 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Let me start out by saying how I excited I was to discover this new author last year. Not only because she writes great books (because she totally does) but because I know her! I feel a teensy bit famous or something. Forget seven degrees from Kevin Bacon–I’m ONE degree from Jessica Day George! She and I played in orchestra together, had the same speech class, and graduated from high school together. We were friendly aquaintances although I was always jealous (in a nice, small way) of her incredibly gorgeous red hair. I wonder: if I had incredibly gorgeous red hair would it make me write great books?

Answer: nope. That part only comes from being talented and working hard, which scientists have shown has no direct correlation to hair color. But I will continue being just a little bit jealous (nicely) and enjoy her magical writing.

Princess of the Midnight Ball is a retelling of the fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Our hero, Galen, comes home from the war–except it isn’t really home, as his entire immediate family perished some way or another in the conflict. He makes his way to the capital city to find the family of his mother’s sister, whom he has never met. This aunt and uncle allow Galen to stay with them, and Galen begins working with his uncle in the palace gardens.

There are differences between the fairy tale I’m familiar with and this retelling, but the story is strongly told. I loved Galen right from the start. I mean, who doesn’t love a man that knits? (My brother knits, and trust me–it’s much manlier than you think.) Jessica also did a great job of giving the princesses–all 12 of them, and all with flower names–distinctive characteristics. Of course, in the end Galen marries Rose, but it wasn’t all just magic that saved the day–besides wool and herbs, Galen uses his brain (!) and the help of the princesses to defeat the King Under Stone and his 12 creepy sons.

Jessica has written three other great books–Dragon Slippers, Dragon Flight, and Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. They are all beautifully written, wonderful fantasy reads. Great job, Jessica!

I recommend this book for ages 8 and up.

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  1. We loved her dragon books but I haven’t read the other 2 yet. We are going to have to go to Barnes and Noble although getting E to read a princess book may be a hard sell. Jessica had a book signing at our B&N for Dragon Flight (her parents are in my ward) and Ethan was a little star struck, I think. The kid is obsessed with dragons so to meet someone who actually writes about dragons was a HUGE deal.

  2. Wendy, Is Jessica Day the red-head? She lived down the street from me and as a little mutt stated “I want to write books”. I thought she was so balls out to say that. That’s her right?

  3. Yes, that’s Jessica.

  4. Although I haven’t read this particular book yet (wait listed!), I would agree that she is a great writer! And I also agree with your feelings of being a little bit famous… even though I am a degree or two farther removed that you are! 🙂

  5. Dude! That does make you practically famous! I’m just waiting until you become a famous author, too, so I can be just one removed from literary glory. 😉

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