(I read this book as part of the Pay it Sideways Challenge. Join in anytime, we’d love to have you!)
Reveka is thirteen, but has experienced a lot in her young life, from the wars that ravaged her homeland to the beauty and wonder that is herbalism. But the strangest thing she has ever seen is what happens to the twelve princesses every night.
They are cursed, so everyone says, and the king has promised a great reward to anyone who can break the spell. Reveka is determined, but she could never have guessed the consequences of her involvement.
Will she risk her own soul to save the princesses? And can she save both the land in which she was born and the twisted land she comes to love?
More than expected
I don’t reach much “Middle Grade” fiction, mostly because it always feels too fluffy. Many MG characters act practically infantile, and the plots are wrapped up too nicely, even for me.
And at first it seemed The Princess Curse was heading that direction. But I stuck around because I wanted to know what the princess’ curse was; and getting to that was the game-changer. Author Merrie Haskell lured me in with a plucky main character and then absolutely blindsided me—in a great way—with some serious mythology.
The story was more original, more complex, and darker than I expected. And I loved it!
My only complaint is that I felt some of the history got in the way of the plot. Although Sylvania itself is a fictitious land, Haskell spends what I felt was too much time talking about the land wars and tensions in the real countries surrounding: Hungary, Transylvania, and Moldavia. Fortunately it wasn’t necessary to the plot, so I just skimmed through.
A second book in the series is planned, but neither Haskell nor her publisher has announced a date. If you’re looking for a great, slightly dark, novel incorporating mythology, magic, adventure, and friendship, look no further than The Princess Curse.
About the recommender
Small Review is run by Small, a lively woman with a great sense of humor and a propensity for writing stream-of-consciousness reviews. She tends to read a lot of Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, and her recommendations have never led me astray.
Small loved The Princess Curse for its multiple elements (everything from adventure to a little romance) and especially for its main character. Check out her review here (mild spoilers).