Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George is a very eventful twist to the 12 Dancing Princesses Fairytale. The King’s wife makes some very unusual deals with the King Under Stone. She promises to dance for him every night and in return he promises her some children and an heir to the throne. When the King of Westfallin starts offering rewards to anyone who can figure out why the princesses dancing slippers have been worn through every night, strange things start happening. Any prince that tries to solve the mystery goes away empty handed and ends up having a fatal accident soon after he leaves. Then Galen, a mere orphaned soldier returning from war, asks if he can try to solve the quizzical case. Rose, the oldest daughter falls ill, soon passing it to the rest of the sisters. Unfortunately, they can’t miss a single night of dancing, or the Lord Under Stone will send his half human sons up to capture the princesses. Not long after the princesses finally recover, the church of the land decides that there is definitely witchcraft involved and the princesses and the king must go on trial to prove their innocence. Amidst the different characters trials and the twists in the plot, Galen comes to love Rose and decides he must find a way to break the spell they are under.

I really like how fast paced this book was, and how smoothly the plot was furthered through the different twists. I loved how easy it was to relate to the very dynamic characters. The fact that the princesses were put on trial for witchcraft made me not want to stop reading. I just had to keep going to find out if they would get convicted. It definitely added to the depth of the story because of how the result would affect each character. It is mentioned in the book how each of the princes that comes to solve the mystery is snobby, or is really just trying to get their kingdom. I think that makes it easier to connect with Galen because he is choosing to do it for love, not for the reward offered. I really enjoyed reading this book and soon went to see what other books by Jessica Day George I could read! She is a fantastic writer and I really just loved reading this book!

Rating:

Title: Princess of the Midnight Ball

Author: Jessica Day George

Format: hardbound, paperback

Page Nos.: 304

ISBN: 1599904551

Publisher: Bloomsbury Books for Young Readers

Release Date: April 2010

Reviewer: Jillian

Young Adult Novels

Novel Reaction is going to look at all things Young Adult Genre for the month of June. This post is going to date me but when I was going up the Young Adult section of the bookstore seemed to consist of a few classics like Call of the Wild or The Secret Garden and a few serial collections like The Babysitter Club. Now the section at the bookstore is HUGE with a great selection of novels in just about any sub-genre like horror, fantasy, romance, or adventure.  This got me thinking, exactly what is it that makes a novel be considered young adult?

Usually the story is about a main character who is in their teens to early twenties and the novel will usually involve themes of identity, including the characters place in society, questioning authority or the status quo. Having said that, what is it that calls to so many adult readers?!

When I lived in Utah I belonged to a book club of adult women who would read a YA each month to discuss and we all really enjoyed the genre of books. Obviously, the prime example of a YA series that has appealed to so many ages is The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers.  Even beyond the entertainment and quick read that a lot of the YA novels provide, what is that captures so many readers?

Personally, (and since this Novelreaction.com where we provide a graphic content) I find myself picking up YA novels because they are usually sexually clean.  This is not to say that I haven’t come across some scenes that would rate higher than a three, but usually they are pretty clean.  Hearts at Stake by Alyxandra Harvey has some of the best sexual tension between Lucy and Nicholas with just a few simple kisses that I have read.

The question of our personal identity, who we are and where we fit into society, still exists even after we leave our teens.  Regardless of who we were in high school, we all had moments of loneliness where we felt like no-one understood us, those feelings carry over into our twenties and further. I think is part of the appeal of the YA genre, the connection to the loneliness we all feel or felt.

Even in the darkest of YA novels there persists a feeling of optimism about the future, a feeling that we can change the world around us for the better.  That each of us has some greater purpose than to simply exist, that we are capable of great things.  I love the recurring theme of refusal to stand back while events happen to the characters, they inspire me to go out and achieve my dreams, however far fetched the my dreams might seem.

What do you think? Do you like YA novels or do you find them only for teenagers? If you love them, why? Why do you think society has embraced them to the level that they have?

Make sure you check back often this month as we discuss all things Young Adult, have a giveaway or two and are visited by authors. Don’t forget the Books-to-Movie Challenge of The Lightening Thief at the end of the month.

Books to Movie Challenge: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

For the month of June we are going to read and watch The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan.  From the publisher:

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he’s not even sure he believes himself.

Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he’s angered a few of them: Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus.

The first chapter of the book can be read online at PercyJacksonBooks.com.