Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Review: Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

Book: Princess of Glass
Author: Jessica Day George
Published: 2010
Source: Local Library

After a childhood spent dancing every night away with her eleven sisters as part of a wicked enchantment, Princess Poppy never wants to so much as curtsey to a partner ever again. It makes life a little challenging when she pays a visit to neighboring kingdom of Breton, but she finds ways to entertain herself at balls and parties, especially when she gets to spend time with friendly and fun Prince Christian of Danelaw.

Then comes the night of the royal ball. Christian, along with most of the men in the room, is strangely ensnared by the mysterious Lady Ella. Only Poppy seems to recognize housemaid and disgraced gentlewoman Eleanora. Only she seems to understand that there's something very wicked going on, and Eleanora may be as much of a victim as the prince. In order to defeat the real foe, and rescue both Christian and Eleanora, Poppy's going to have to face her deepest fears, both on the dance floor and off.

This is a book that so easily could have had the wrong heroine. I spent a great deal of it going, "Oh for Crissakes, Eleanora, grow up." Though she is the Cinderella in this story, she's also whiny, self-pitying, and tends to depend on others to rescue her. It's our good luck that our heroine is Poppy, who is practical, capable, and brave. Having come through one evil plot, she's adept at recognizing the signs and knows that it's going to take more than a pure heart to win the day.

Though marriage and courtship feature largely in the story, I'd characterize this as a tween/young teen title, especially since the relationship between Poppy and Christian isn't so much passionate as cute and sweet. While it's not the best I've ever read, it's an entertaining, fast-paced example of the retold fairy tale trope that I particularly enjoy, with an intrepid heroine.

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