Review 39. Diane Zahler - The thirteenth princess.

Author: Diane Zahler.
Pages: 256.
Published: February 2nd 2010 (first published September 9th 2009).
Publisher: HarperCollins.
Sort: Stand alone.
Zita is not an ordinary servant girl--she's the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita's father banished her to the servants' quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.Then, after Zita's twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends--Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier--Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot--and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.

Zira is raised in the kitchen by Cook, until she finds out that she is no servant girl. In fact, she is the thirteenth princess and that's a nice suprise for her.

Aurelia is the first born child. After that, the King made sure that there was no magic in his Kingdom. The nurse said it could be dangerous for Aurelia. Soon after that, the other sisters arrived: the twin Alanna and Ariadne. Althea, Adena, Asenka. Another twin Amina and Ailima. Akila, Allegra, Asmita and Anisa. The King was done with daughters, he wanted a son. But when his wife dies giving birth to another daughter, he is devastated. He doesn't want the child, so he calls her Zira and she must be raised by the kitchen staff.

That is a horrible thing to do. Even in the end, I never felt any sympathy towards the King. He is harsh for his daughters and he blames Zira for something that isn't her fault. What I did like was the fact that Zira and the princesses are so nice to each other. Zira can sleep in their room every sunday. There is a secret passage between the kitchen and their sleeping room. And sometimes a princess leaves a hidden note for Zira, telling her that they miss her.

Zira feels wonderful and she even makes a new friend. Breckin, a boy who works in the stables. What a sweetheart! He sounds so cute and I liked how their feelings are developing. It's not that the author speaks about never ending love and passion - keep in mind that they are twelve - but it's real. It's the kind of feeling everybody had when you were around that age. Together they find out that there is still a witch in their Kingdom. Her name is Babette and it's a nice old woman. She always bakes cookies and other tasty stuff. Jummy! She comes in handy when the trouble is coming:

Something is terribly wrong. Her sisters are becoming very sick. They are tired all the time; they can't get out of bed anymore. Zira discovers that they are cursed. Zira must find a way to break the curse before it is too late. But how? And who is behind the curse?

Oh, how I loved this twist on the original story! It really sticks to the story, but I love the addition of another sister. Zira is such a fun character! She is very nice, but stubborn at the same time. She knows what she wants and she is brave. I like the fact that, even when she finds out that she is a princess, she stays the same. I already knew who did it halfway, but it didn't spoil the story :)


  1. This sounds cute! The cover is adorable. I've never read the original though. but it sounds really interesting with great characters.

  2. I like this magical. Nice review!

  3. Aww, this sounds like such an adorable and magical book! As a girl who always dreamed of being royalty, I LOVE reading books about princesses -- especially wonderful girls like Zira! And I'm already getting butterflies from her relationship with the sweet stable boy -- it sounds too adorable for words!! :')

    Absolutely AMAZING review, Mel! I'm so happy you loved this book -- I'm going to take that as an OK to read this! ;) <3

  4. I love any re-telling of classic fairytales :) this one sounds so sweet so I think I'll have to go read it!

    Have you read The Goose Girl? It's one of my favorites :D

    Psst... 31 May was my birthday!

  5. @Giselle: it's such a nice story! You should take a look at it :)

    @Shane, agreed :D

    @Mimi: I think almost every girl dreamed of becoming a princess, haha. Their relationship is indeed very adorable! It's definitely a YES to read ;)

    @Sel, I haven't read that book yet, but I have it on my wishlist :D

  6. Wow this seems really cute and awesome!! I am DEFINITELY going to pick this up. Thanks for the lovely review, sweet Mel!! <3 It kinda sounds like The Goose Girl, which Sel already pointed out. If it's anything like that, then I am SO going to be in for a major treat!! ILY, Mel!! Fab review!!

  7. You are welcome! I'm glad that you liked my review :D And you should pick it up! :D

  8. It really is a unique twist on Twelve Dancing Princesses, that's for sure. Also I am highly surprised you haven't read Goose Girl yet. That was the book that started my YA/MG fairytale adaptation obsession that I have now...

  9. @Sam, that sounds like a book I MUST pick up very soon. Thanks for telling me! :)


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