What ever happened to the twelve dancing princesses, after they quit dancing? Well, according to Jessica Day George, one of them got mixed up in the plot of Cinderella. Princess of Glass is a loose sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball. The plot is entirely different and so are most of the characters but the events of the previous book are mentioned so frequently, I think you’re better off reading it first–though you could probably start here if you really wanted to.
So, a quick summary of both stories, with a minimum of spoilers. The twelve princesses are cursed to dance at the Midnight Ball, with twelve demon princes. If you know the Grimm story, it’s no spoiler to say that a soldier breaks the spell on them, and marries the oldest princess. The second book is about Poppy, another of the princesses, who is off to a fantasy country based heavily on England (complete with Tutingham Palace as a substitute for Buckingham). Poppy is there as part of a royal exchange program. When a serving girl shows up at a royal dance, decked out in finery and mesmerizing the prince Poppy had been growing fond of, Poppy and her friends have to investigate what spell is afoot.
This is a really clever and unique Cinderella retelling. I love that we get it from such a different perspective. And since Cinderella, as a person, completely annoys me in the original version, I love that this version is not such a sweet, innocent (and spineless!) character. This book also addresses a key question the original fairy tale never answers–where did this fairy godmother suddenly appear from anyway? The godmother’s ultimate motivations felt a little bizarre to me, but the things she does are so fascinating, I’ll forgive her doubtful reasons.
Poppy is an enjoyable heroine (aside from that dreadful name). She’s tough and resourceful, but has emotional uncertainties too. I particularly like it that she has all kinds of emotional issues when it comes to dancing–which totally makes sense, right? Prince Christian is a sweetheart, even if not the most complex prince I’ve ever encountered. There’s a good complement of secondary characters to round out the cast, including a Cinderella with unexpected depth.
One aspect that really sells me on this book is the description. It’s lush and vivid, describing dresses, magical transportation, and truly strange glass shoes.
If I had to choose, I liked Princess of the Midnight Ball a bit better, but this was a very lovely follow-up.
Author’s Site: http://jessicadaygeorge.com/default.aspx