Source: Bought (kindle plus hardcover)
Publication Date: Sept. 2011
Short Synopsis (Goodreads): Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling—and downright silly—curse. Ridiculous though the curse may be, whoever breaks it will win a handsome reward.
Sharp-witted Reveka, an herbalist’s apprentice, has little use for princesses, with their snooty attitudes and impractical clothing. She does, however, have use for the reward money that could buy her a position as a master herbalist.
But curses don’t like to be broken, and Reveka’s efforts lead her to deeper mysteries. As she struggles to understand the curse, she meets a shadowy stranger (as charming as he is unsettling) and discovers a blighted land in desperate need of healing. Soon the irreverent apprentice is faced with a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?
My Review: I read this book a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Though it is MG, Reveka was an amazing protagonist and I laughed out loud several times at her inner dialogue.
This book did a fabulous job of breathing new life into the Twelve Dancing princesses tale, and really, that isn't if center stage, which I liked a lot. It blends with another familiar-esque story that I won't go into because it will give away part of the mystery, but it was immediately recognizable....make that two additional ones. And though it is an MG there was a romantic interest the I really wanted to go more into depth (once a series starts MG must it continue that way? Could it evolve into YA?) and they were honestly great together, learning each others strengths and weaknesses but not giving up when the going got tough.
And Reveka USED HER BRAIN! Grr, it frustrates me so much when the protagonist can't seem to do a single thing for themselves and must be taken care of every step of the way (not naming names but there are quite a few out there) but Reveka was truly a breath of fresh air, spunky, kind, determined, had a plan, was willing to take risks...honestly, I could go on and on.
This really was a fantastic book......*please Ms. Haskell, can it be a series?* I even ended up buying two copies of the book. I wanted it so bad I got it for my kindle app and when I finished reading it I literally gasped because I hand't known the end was coming up! (you know how you can tell with a physical book that the end is coming? Not so easy on the kindle app!) And then I wanted it for my own library and to be able to share it with the other readers in my family so bought the hard copy and they enjoyed it as well.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It has just the right blend of fantasy, humor, a lovable and spunky heroine and even a dash of romance. Really, really fantastic!