Monday, December 1, 2014

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell

Young Reveka is an herbalist's apprentice at the court of the cursed twelve princesses. When Reveka combines her knowledge of both plants and magic, she uncovers the princesses' nightly excursion to the Underworld. Once there the princesses go to the castle of a zmeu, a humanoid dragon. The zmeu gives each princess two choices: accept his marriage proposal or dance with him. Only by accepting the zmeu's hand will the curse be broken. Reveka willingly offers herself to the zmeu to free the princesses. However, accepting the zmeu's marriage offer holds more power and responsibility than anything Reveka could have imagined.

Haskell’s debut novel is a clever combination of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and the Persephone story from Greek mythology. Even though readers are familiar with these three tales, Haskell braids them together into an intriguing, unpredictable story. But Haskell's book is not just based on tales and myths. Haskell also adds in facts about the herbs and plants Reveka comes across. One thing that may deter adults from encouraging young readers to this book is that Reveka is only thirteen when she becomes engaged to the zmeu. However, no physical affection is shown between these two characters. Appropriate for ages 14 and up.

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