The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell retells the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from a different point of view – an onlooker. A young herbalist apprentice named Reveka. Her devotion to herb lore makes her certain that there is something she can do to help end the curse, so she throws herself into the task with no concern for herself. What follows brings the best of fairy tale lore alive with fantasy and determination. I absolutely couldn’t get enough of the story!
This is one stand-alone I would give anything to see made into a series. Reveka is such a strong heroine – she is incredibly brave and plenty smart…but is also not without her faults. Part of it is that she is so young. But, in fact – one of the best things about the book is her age. We get to focus on the world and the story instead of getting tangled up with a bunch of romance and teenage angst. That right there is the best part about reading middle grade!
Of course, that isn’t to say that the story doesn’t contain a few men, y’all. What would be the fun in that? But the simple fact that Reveka is too young to prioritize romance keeps anything from really developing. However, she does come to imagine a future with someone, so we do get a glimpse into what her happily ever after might be! I’d hate to have left the book without a look into how Reveka’s life might turn out.
We don’t get to know most of the princesses on any level at all – this is definitely not (directly) their story. The consequences of their actions and the lengths they go to in order to keep others free of the curse definitely make for some intrigue though. I really appreciate the fact that the story has so many layers.
I always love reading about court politics – since Reveka is a part of it all as a herbalist, we get looks into several different interesting areas. From the gossipy servant in charge of bathing to her fellow herbalists to the princesses themselves, Reveka is constantly observing and obtaining as much information as she can! The things she ends up learning definitely cause her to make some crazy decisions…
I’m always up to read anything in the fantasy genre, especially when it comes complete with a worthy heroine and a complex world to discover…if you’re anything like me, this is definitely a book worth picking up!