Book Review: The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell
Title: The Princess Curse
Author: Merrie Haskell
Released: September 01, 2011
Merrie Haskell’s middle-grade fantasy novel Princess Curse is an imaginative retelling of the fairy tales The Twelve Dancing Princesses and Beauty and the Beast.
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, a smart, courageous herbalist’s apprentice, decides to attempt the break the curse despite the danger. Unraveling the mystery behind the curse leads Reveka to the Underworld, and to save the princesses, Reveka will have to risk her soul.
Princess Curse combines magic, suspense, humor, and adventure into a story perfect for fans of Gail Carson Levine.
Please keep in mind that this review contains spoilers for the entire book. Read with caution. If you click the “Read More”, it is under the assumption that you either don’t care about spoilers or you’ve already read the book.
First and foremost, I want to say how much I enjoyed the first half of this book. Usually, I don’t go out of my way to look for fairy tale retellings because I usually found them to be edgy and try too hard to divert from the original story. And I’ll be blunt – I’m not familiar with the story of the twelve dancing princesses (although I may look it up later).
The first half of the book really kept me interested. I adored Reveka and her wit. I loved the fact that she’s willing to try anything and is just as vivacious as the situation was dire. The writing for the actual worldbuilding was amazing – I could easily imagine all the intricate details Reveka notices through her day to day chores and on her quest to reach the dowry for herself. Even her reasons are very natural… however, once she gave up her freedom to protect her Pa from being murdered (after stealing Reveka’s invisibility cap), that’s when I felt the story fell off the rails.
The second half of the book involves Reveka and her living in the Underworld, or what’s believed to be the Underworld. For a few dozen pages, the author really wanted us to like Lord Dragos and really intended him to be her match in the story, even if she was only thirteen years old.
The author really wanted to get a Hades/Persophone story going between the two but Lord Dragos really was not interested in Reveka in the slightest. He was kind to her but it really dragged on and it honestly felt forced that suddenly Reveka wanted nothing more than to be with him.
It would’ve made more sense that she was more determined to heal the Underworld than being with him. Even though I personally liked Mihas, as dumb as he was, he wasn’t a good match for Reveka either. However, this story had a forced romance and a tease for a sequel. It’s clear that everything that mirrored in the World Above matched the Underworld so… was there really anything to worry about?
This would be a great read for middle schoolers to be sure but maybe it’s because my suspension of belief ran out but I kind of hope the author doesn’t make a sequel. I didn’t like how rushed the ending was and how Reveka missed Lord Dragos more than having access to all the seasons’ worth of herbs and flowers and roots.
Posted on November 3, 2018, in ★★★☆☆ – 3 Stars, Book Reviews, Book Series, Oneshots and tagged book review, fairy tales, merrie haskell, reading, review, spoilers, the princess curse. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.