Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball
Author: Jessica Day George
Series: Stand Alone 
Source: Personal Copy
Format: Paperback 
Genre: Speculative Fiction - Fantasy
Synopsis (from author's page):
Returning home from the war, young Galen finds work with his mother’s family in the royal gardens. There he learns that the king’s twelve daughters have a secret: every night they dance their shoes to tatters, but no one knows how or why. 

The war between Westfalian and Analousia has already end leaving Galen, a young soldier, without any place to go. He travels to Bruch in search for his mother’s sister, Tante Leisel, hoping to find a job and a place to live. Once arrives in Brunch, he finds his aunt’s family and they give him a bed, also a job with his uncle as a caretaker in the garden at the King’s palace. At that time, the King himself is desperate to uncover the mystery that surrounds his twelve princesses. Every three days, the princesses’ dancing slippers are worn out but nobody has any idea why.

When the princesses’ health begins to deteriorate, the King offers one of his daughters in marriage to any prince that manages to solve the mystery. However, when the princes that accept the challenge die of mysterious death, one after another, rumour of witchcraft abound and the church starts getting involve. Without anyone else that willing to take on the challenge, it is now up to Galen to put pieces of the puzzle together, save the princesses’ lives and also the kingdom. What is he planning to do? And what is his idea to ensure that his plan works?

Jessica Day George has successfully enchanted the readers with this enticing, magical and solid fairy tale retelling. Princess of the Midnight Ball is based on Grimm fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, though I find that George’s version has more depth and the storyline is also much stronger than the original. The backbone of this book is basically the same as in the Grimm’s version; however the author expands the story more at the places that need some extra explanations. In some way, George provides the reader with some answers towards the questions that the readers might have whilst reading Grimm’s story. So this improvement serves as a huge advantage for the readers, making reading experience much more enjoyable.

In term of characterisation, multiple alterations have been made in Princess of the Midnight Ball. For instance, the twelve princesses appear to be somewhat naughty in Grimm’s version but in George’s, they are much lovelier and each one of them come with distinct, definable traits. The author also named these girls with name of flowers and each one of those flowers could be found at the garden that the King keeps for his deceased wife. Galen’s character is also different between these two versions. In Grimm’s, Galen is described as an old soldier who keeps an ambition to be a king but in George’s; he appears to be a handsome, young, kind and down-to-earth soldier. The changes that the author made add more dimensions to each character in the book and it is amazing to see how these changes could enhance the details in the original book and make it even livelier.

Personally, this is one of the best renditions of classic fairy tale that I’ve ever read thus far. The story indeed doesn’t stray too far from the original, but the twists and turns added by the author is enough to give new breath to the classic that most of us loved. Such a remarkable read that is suitable for those who love a happily ever after story.

Favourite Quote: To Galen, war was a disease, something to be avoided, not something he wanted to talk about with the other afflicted men over the campfire.


  1. I'm a huge fan of anything Grimm, so I definitely need to read this one! I had no idea that's what it was based upon before haha silly me! Great review! :)

  2. Great review! Glad to hear this one did the original story justice...and then some. Fairytale retellings can go one of two ways....GREAT or not-so-much, for the most part. Sounds like the author found a successful formula for this one...thanks for sharing! Happy reading...

  3. ohh I'm so glad you liked it! I've had this on my TBR for ever - but now it just shot to the top of the list :DD

  4. Hey Shy!! where have u been? I miss you...haha!! Well, I'm glad that you love the book. It's such a great review as usual. But, this type of books, i mean the genre is not my cup of coffee... =b

    Hey! come to Coffee N Crackers.. I have new review and several other posts waiting for your comment. =)

  5. Wow..That is mesmerizing.I love the Twelve Dancing Princesses and this one sounds like a good read. Thanks for sharing girl!

  6. I'm also a huge fan of Grimm's fairytales and The 12 dancing princess is definitely one of my favourites. I'm so glad to hear this retelling does the original tale justice. I will definitely be adding this to my TBR pile.

  7. I like the sound of this one, it sounds so cute. And I do like fairytales told in a newer light

  8. Big fan of Grimm! This sounds fascinating! I'm always iffy about retellings so I'm glad to hear that this one is worthy of the original! Great review.

    Came from CEP!

  9. This sounds like an interesting read. I hadn't heard of it before.

  10. New follower here!

    I've always liked the Twelve Dancing Princesses! This sounds like an interesting twist.

    Thank you!

  11. Hi! I have been wondering if this one was any good. I'm so glad it is! Thank you for the informative review!! :)

  12. I really need to try this one again, I think I was in the wrong mood when I tried to read the first time.
    Thank you for your lovely review.

    Visiting from YA Addict Comment Exchange Program
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  13. I like fairy tale retellings. And this one sounds quite good!

    Thanks for the review. :)

  14. Hi Shy! This is a really good review, and I think I'll try to find the book. Its not going to be easy to locate in India!

  15. This one just sounds fabulous, wonderful review =)

  16. This does sound great! Though I'm disappointed to hear that the princesses are nicer in this - the naughty side is really fundamental to the Grimms' story I think. But still sounds good - I'll keep an eye out for it! Thanks for the review.

  17. The cover alone makes me want this, and your review makes me want it more! Off to Goodreads to add it to my list!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  18. This book sounds good, I think it may go into my to read pile.