Another good fairy tale retelling

Title: The Thirteenth Princess

Author: Diane Zahler

Pub. Date: February 2010

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 245

Genre: Fantasy

Summary/Teaser: Growing up a kitchen maid, Zita has had no idea of who her parents were and where she came from. Gradually she learns that she is the thirteenth daughter of the king, who wanted only sons. Her twelve older sisters have fallen victim to a terrible enchantment, and it’s up to Zita and her friends to save them.

Review: There’s something about fairy tale retellings that really appeals to me. In the original fairy tales (by the Brothers Grimm, or Hans Christian Anderson), characters often have little personality and simply stand by as the prince or the fairy godmother swoops in to save the day.Fairy tale retellings can change this for the better.

The Thirteenth Princess is a retelling of the Grimm fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” It fleshes out the princesses, Zita, and other characters with names, personalities, and lots of little details. The writing itself is decent– not the best I’ve ever read, but good enough.

As I move on to the negatives, I have to give a minor spoiler alert, as my main discontentment with the story lies in the ending. While Zita is very proactive and ready to act, it isn’t really her who rescues the princesses, although she is a key part of the operation. (End spoilers.)

Just a quirky detail: This is one of the very few books I’ve read that has a character that shares my name: one of Zita’s older sisters is called Allegra.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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