My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“There were twelve dancing princesses,” he whispered. “And their little hearts were broken. But one day, they found a magical land of silver and music, where they could dance and forget all their troubles. But, alas! All things do not last forever. There was a debt to be paid…”
In this re-telling of the Grimm tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” Azalea and her eleven sisters are crushed by the death of their mother and the year-long period of mourning which follows, forbidding them from leaving their castle, wearing anything but black, or dancing — their absolute favorite past time. Searching for a place to forget their troubles, they stumble across a magical passageway that leads to a silver forest where the Keeper oversees a beautiful pavilion where they can dance every night until their slippers wear out. They soon come to realize, though, that the Keeper’s motives aren’t all noble, and their secret dancing has put them all in danger.
I have a penchant for new re-tellings of classic stories; I love when you can take an old tale, one that people already know, and tweak and twist it, giving it new life and re-imagining it to really get a refreshing new feel for the characters, their motives, and their struggles. This is one that I really enjoyed. The sisters and their relationship had an adorable, Little Women-type vibe, peppered with some refreshing wit and sisterly banter; and the romances the elder ones experienced followed suit, being, simply put, sweet. With a touch of magic, it seemed that almost anything was possible, yet it was rare enough that the characters had to use their own courage and cleverness as well, instead of just relying on it to solve all their problems.
Yes, the character names were a bit silly (all twelve sisters were named alphabetically after plants, starting with Azalea and Bramble, all the way through to Lily), but it made it easy to remember who was who in birth order. And, yes, there are a LOT of dancing references and descriptions that I couldn’t really relate to, but since dancing was so essential to the story, it was understandable. And, yes, the pacing may be a bit slow for some and others may complain about some of the silly/sugary-sweet things the sisters do, but personally, I thought it was overall a really cute, sweet, refreshingly clean read.
Overall: Little Women – meets – the Brothers Grimm in this magical retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”