Sunday, February 08, 2015 10:29

Review 214. Merrie Haskell – The princess curse.

9588207Title: The princess curse.
Author: Merrie Haskell.
Pages: 328.
Published: September 6th 2011 by HarperCollins
Sort: Stand-alone.
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.
Rating:

I enjoyed this book, but there were a couple of things that bothered me and their solutions were too easy and effortless. Most of my reservations are based on the romance and the fact that Reveka felt too young for the love-interest.

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.
author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

24 comments:

  1. I just added this one to my TBR, because it looks really interesting. I like that the book also uses some mythology. Great review Mel :D

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    1. That combination made it stand out more to me.

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  2. Yay. <3 Amazing review Mel :) I'm glad you ended up enjoying this book; despite some issues with it :) I think the cover looks pretty gorgeous. <3 And it sounds awesome too :D But hmph. Girl is 13, yet feels older. That's not good. But glad you still liked her :) Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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  3. Well on the bright side, at least the MC wasn't a 18 who acted like a person of the age of 10. I hate whiny characters so this would be nice for a change.

    Lovely review, Mel <33

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    1. That's true! I think it can be really hard to capture a certain age.

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  4. I agree on the romance--it almost felt like there were two stories here, a middle grade one and a YA one, and they didn't match up real well. Her newest book, Castle Behind Thorns, is lovely....

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  5. I can't say I like it when a character sounds older than they actually are, but I guess it could be a lot worse. The mythology and fairytale aspect sounds really interesting though. I don't know why I've never heard of this previously but I must check this out ASAP. Great review, Mel! <3

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  6. Hmmm...This sounds like a fairytale retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses story, and I don't think I've ever heard of a book that does that. It sounds like a really unique book. I love how it's a little bit of the Beauty and the Beast, too. Fairytale retelling mash-ups are the best.

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  7. I'm tempted to try this one because I haven't read any 12 Dancing Princess retellings before, but my library didn't have it. Saaaaddness. And if it's not so spectacular well maybe I'm not too fussed. XD I enjoyed your review!!

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    1. Boooh. You might be able to order it online? TBD has it and it's not very expensive :)

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  8. Hmm, MG reads can be iffy for me, but I'm intrigued by the Beauty and the Beast aspect! I love the dynamic to that romance, so I feel like I'll have to read this for that alone. I'm glad it's a quick and easy read though, so if I'm a bit disappointed like you, it won't be for long! :)

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  9. I get what you mean about the age gap between the two characters - 13 seems a bit too young, doesn't it?

    If I do get around to reading this book, it most probably would be because of the relationship between Reveka and her father - I love books that explore family dynamics!

    Great review, Mel! :)

    Lyra @ Defiantly Deviant

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    1. Yes, I guess I find it hard to imagine a 13 year old girl falling in love already..

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  10. I think it's really hard to get the age right when dealing with a protagonist who's so young. The author doesn't want to make them seem too immature and so they tend to overcompensate and make them TOO 'adult' and it just . . . doesn't work. They should embrace the character's age, rather than trying to run from it.

    I love re-tellings and am always looking for new ones, so wooo. Another to the TBR!

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    1. Exactly! Or just make her a little older, because that would have worked much better in this case.

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  11. This sounds like a middle-grade novel and whuuuuut -- there's already ROMANCE in it? I agree, thirteen is a bit too young to have a love interest. Now I'm just praying that they don't kiss in the story because that would be, um, awkward. Like, my baby sister will be thirteen in two years' time and I honestly can't imagine her even having a crush on anyone else. (Then again, she's still like a toddler to me. ;D)

    I think Allie's comment about the character is on-point! If the author makes the protagonist sound too young, readers, especially us older ones, won't be able to connect and might possibly even feel annoyed at their immaturity. The balance is quite hard to maintain, I guess, but I'm glad that despite that small issue, Reveka's personality still shone through.

    And wow, mythology and fairytale? Sounds good! Someone needs to do this for a YA book/series, haha. Most preferably Rick Riordan because he is the myth master and has a wicked sense of humor. And lol, now that I hear that the love interest is quite a bit older than Reveka, I'm getting more and more creeped-out. Yep. The author should have made Reveka older than thirteen. It would solve a lot of the problems in this book, methinks.

    On another note: I really like the cover!

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    1. Yes, it was a bit unbelievable.. 13 and falling in love is a bit too unrealistic to me. At that age you thought having a boyfriend meant holding hands with a guy, haha.

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  12. This one seems more middle grade and I have to admit that I don't read many of those. I feel I'd be put off by how young the protagonist is. There's also a part of me that feels that she can't really have a serious love interest when she's just a thirteen year old girl. It sounds like an okay read, but one that I'd probably skip. Thanks for the review Mel :)

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  13. I might give this a go if my library gets it in, but I don't think I'll be purchasing it to read. I don't like it when there's a weird age gap between the protagonist and the love interest, it creeps me out slightly haha! Great review! :)

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  14. Sounds like a really cute B&B retelling, I love how the character has a relationship with her father in the book. It does sound pretty creepy with how young she is and how mature the love interest sounds though. Lovely review Mel!

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  15. I'm glad you still recommend it because I think I own this one...tho I'm not sure lol.

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    1. Haha, I sometimes have the same with my book collection.

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