The Princess Curse--Merrie Haskell
September 2011 by Harper Collins
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.
The Princess Curse mashes-up "The 12 Dancing Princesses," "Beauty and the Beast," and "Hades and Persephone" while also telling its own story. Reveka is an awesome protagonist (even though I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce her name). Her snarky disrespect is rather funny. She's likable without being perfect and flawed without being infuriating. She's practical and capable and just fun to read about.
Some readers have an issue with Reveka's goal of entering a convent, but during the middle ages, convents were on of the few places people could dedicate their lives to something other than just working really hard to stay alive. A convent would be the only place she could become a master herbalist. Also, I love how Reveka uses herbology (**SPOILER** and awesome underworld powers) to save the day.
I wish we could have seen more of the underworld. And dragons. The fact that dragons were in this book needed to be more heavily advertised.
The Princess Curse is a quick, enjoyable, curl up on the couch with cocoa read. It left me longing for more (sequel? hopefully? write it please!). This makes the second Christmas in a row I've read a fairy tale retelling. TRADITION!!!!!!!!