THE PRINCESS CURSE (HarperCollins, Sept 6, 2011) is an enjoyable book to read. But I read it after reading Suzanne Weyn’s THE NIGHT DANCE (Simon Pulse, Nov 25, 2008) and Diane Zahler’s THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS (HarperCollins, Feb 2, 2010) and so it seemed a little formulaic. A young, prepubescent girl, working either in a kitchen or herbary, solves the curse when no-one else can. I’m sure middle-graders love it, but I would have liked a more original opening, especially as this book was published later than the other two.
Another eerie thing that was distracting was that the font and layout of CURSE was identical to DANCE. I have no idea why that would be so, unless Simon Pulse is somehow connected with HarperCollins. Of course, this is not the author’s fault, but it was distracting because the beginning of THE PRINCESS CURSE was so similar to THE NIGHT DANCE that I had a hard time keeping the two books straight in my mind.
And if author Merrie Haskell had just left it at that, yet another retelling of THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES with the obligatory happy ending, then I would probably have only given it only one star. But Ms. Haskell is a better writer than that, and what I enjoyed most about this book was what happened to Reveka after the twelve princesses were released from their curse. Which I won’t tell you, so as not to spoil this for future readers. For me, that was where the novel really took off. Four stars.