Author: Merrie Haskell.
Published: September 6th 2011 by HarperCollins
Fairytale retelling challenge.
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 to break the curse despite the danger. Unravelling the mystery behind the curse leads Reveka to the Underworld, and to save the princesses, Reveka will have to risk her soul.
Reveka is the new herbalist’s apprentice together with her friend Didina. She is trying to find a way to break the curse on the twelve princesses. Every morning they are tired and their shoes are in tatters. The unfortunate soul who stayed the previous night in their room ends up in a state between life and death. Their bodies are collected in the infirmary, waiting for the curse to be lifted before it’s too late. Reveka isn’t so worried about them; in the beginning she’s in it for money.
I liked Reveka, but I was a bit confused about her age. Sure, sometimes she acts like a thirteen year old girl, but most of the times she felt older to me. I think it would have been better if the author made her around sixteen (I just imaged she was that age to make it more believable.) She is clever and I like her persistence to break the curse, even when her father keeps telling her it’s of no use. Some of her choices also showed how much she cares about others and her loyalty towards them. I can always appreciate that in a character.
Her relationship with her father was on a bumpy road, but I liked his influence in her life. It’s easy to see he doesn’t know what to do with a daughter, but that’s not strange, because he was a soldier for most of her life. While he was fighting in the war, she grew up with her mother who died not too long ago. His new role as father falls hard on him, but his attempts made me smile and in the end, he cares about her and that’s all that matters.
The mix of mythology and fairytales was interesting. I already knew I was in for some Beauty and the beast, but I didn’t know something similar to select for spoiler: Hades and Persephone would make its entrance in the story. It was a nice blend and I would have enjoyed this part of the story so much more if Reveka was older – or he a bit younger. Her romance with her love-interest felt a bit creepy now and the solution was almost a cheap way out. That being said, I did like the love-interest as a character. He’s exactly like the Beast; a bit harsh in the beginning, but slowly you understand his reasons behind every decision and you warm up to him.
Is it one of my favorite retellings? No. Do I recommend it? Yes. It’s cute and easy. Nothing too special or unique, but it gave me a satisfying smile and I enjoyed Reveka’s journey to a happily-ever-after she never imagined.