Monday, September 26, 2011

The Thirteenth Princess

The Thirteenth Princess
by Diane Zahler

Zita is not an ordinary servant girl—she's the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita's father banished her to the servants' quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.

Then, after Zita's twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths. (description from

This was a really well done and interesting new rewrite of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I loved the fact that Zita was a thirteenth and utterly different princess. Her birthright added to the way that she was raised as a servant gave readers the ability to see into both worlds. So much of the story focused on Zita's life, her discovery of her birthright, and the development of her relationship with her sisters.

It was almost as if Zahler wrote a completely fresh story before she finally blended the original fairy tale into Zita's life. The magic was interesting and fun. The characters were strong, especially Zita, who was spunky, loving, and eminently loyal. I loved the relationships that she developed with her sisters, the cook, the witch, and especially Breckin.

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