princess of glass

Monday, July 12, 2010 |

I knew I wanted to read this book, I really did. First off, I’m a sucker for the fairy tale sub-genre of fantasy. I have been since high school, when I discovered Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s adult fairy tale series and short story collections. I gobbled up re-tellings after that – everything from Robin McKinley to Jane Yolen to Charles de Lint and Mercedes Lackey. And I’ve adored the YA presence on the fairy tale scene, as well. Shannon Hale, Edith Pattou, and old favorite Patricia C. Wrede…these ladies know how a fairy tale should be told.


Secondly, I know I like Jessica Day George’s writing. I read her Dragon Slippers trilogy, and I enjoyed the enthusiasm and inventiveness that pervaded her writing. So, despite not having read its precursor, Princess of the Midnight Ball, I requested this book. I even ended up waiting in line at ALA for an autographed copy of it. I knew the blurb, I’d seen the cover, I’d decided I wanted it. And yet, when I had the ARC version sitting in my house for a week, I couldn’t bring myself to crack the cover.


Why? Obstinacy. When I am faced with a book that I MUST read, on a deadline, I (sometimes) get tetchy. I find fault with a perfectly good story. I’ll pick it up, put it down, decide to start another book, find another, 'better' one. In this case, it was orneriness, pure and simple. The cover was so PINK, and I wasn’t feeling PINK, if you know what I mean. I was feeling like swords and death and…well…you can look at the titles I’ve reviewed over the past couple of weeks: A Madness of Angels, Cold Magic (review forthcoming), and I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It.


Ahem. But today I was home sick from work, and I decided to do something ‘worthwhile,’ which ended up being to read and finish Princess of Glass.


The engrossing companion novel to Princess of the Midnight Ball, with a wicked twist on Cinderella.

Hoping to escape the troubles in her kingdom, Princess Poppy reluctantly agrees to take part in a royal exchange program, whereby young princes and princesses travel to each other’s countries in the name of better political alliances—and potential marriages. It’s got the makings of a fairy tale—until a hapless servant named Eleanor is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince.

Ballgowns, cinders, and enchanted glass slippers fly in this romantic and action-packed happily-ever-after quest from an author with a flair for embroidering tales in her own delightful way.


My worries from before? Tempest in a teacup. This was a charming little tale, engaging and just what it should be, in the best way possible. While it doesn’t delve too deeply into the darker side of fairy tale lore, it does have moments of introspection on the nature of fate and right and wrong. It will please those who pick it up for its cover, and perhaps guide them to a love of myth and magic. And it will probably pleasantly surprise those who pick it up in spite of its cover (hello, prime example here!).


One of those lovely surprises was the main character. Poppy is a perfect example of ‘a girl who does things.’ She’s not passive – she’s strong, smart, and she can run her own life pretty well, thanks! She’s not stupid with her courage, but she doesn’t hesitate to say what she thinks, and it is all very, very natural. I think Poppy is quite possibly one of the most likeable heroines I’ve met in a while. We would be instant friends, I say!


However (there's always some qualifying word like 'however' in my reviews, have you noticed?) I did have a couple of minor grumbles left in me. The ending was left very tidy. I…won’t go so far as to say I HATE that, but let’s just put it around that it’s not my first choice. Subtlety is sublime. Authors, I don’t want to know how the character’s entire life will evolve, especially if your story ends while she is still in her teens. Yes, I am the girl who was a bit sad to see the Harry Potter epilogue, thanks for asking, and I’ll shut up now, no worries.


Oh, except there was that one continuity problem…and the fact that Prince Christian didn’t act much like a teenage boy (I have three younger brothers, so I may qualify as an expert on them. In some circles.). He was noble and understanding and content to hang out with the girls. You're right, I refine too much. He must be the best eighteen year old ever invented! But that’s all inconsequential, right? Especially if I can tell you (and I can, dear readers!), that these small complaints did not alter my essential enjoyment of the story. So it was cute and neat – so what! It fit my mood perfectly tonight.


Recommended for: romantics, fairy tale enthusiasts, fans of light YA fantasy, and anyone looking for a spunky girl hero.


I am reviewing this title as part of Traveling ARC Tours, and it will count for the Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge.

43 comments:

Nomes (inkcrush) said...

oh, I Love this review. And I am someone looking for spunky girls, so I think I'll be checking it out for sure :)

Hope you feel way better soon

x

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I couldn't get in to this one but I am SO glad you liked it :)

Andrea said...

Reminds me of Ella Enchanted (the book, not the horrible movie) so I think I might like it.
Was it ok even though you didn't read the companion?

celi.a said...

Nomes: Thanks! Already feeling much better. Sometimes a day off is all it takes.

Juju: I know, right? Sometimes books work, and sometimes they don't. I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn't have liked this nearly as much on another day (so thank goodness I waited to read it when I did!).

Andrea: Yeah, this one stood alone well - but the plot of the first book was mostly revealed, so if you plan to read both, I'd say to read them in order of publication.

Okapi said...

This book sounds swell! I love fairy tales and light fantasy :)

Rica Eat World said...

This sounds awesome! Great review! I love fairy tales :)

Darlyn said...

I love the book review. And yes, you have it right, I kind a bit sad to know the epilogue of HP. I wish it will be more.

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

First it was the beautiful cover of this book that grabbed my eye then when I read the blurb I knew that I wanted to read it! I LOVE fairy tales, and believe that noone is ever too old to read them! :-)

Thanks for the review, I added Princess of Glass to my wishlist!

Cass said...

Great review! I can deal with a sloppy ending, so long as the characters stay with me for a while after I've finished reading. I love books that seem to leap out at you. :)

This book sounds fabulous! Thanks for review + giveaway.

buddyt said...

From your review it sounds a nice quick read for when you are looking for something light and happy and not requiring too much concentration.

Ideal poolside read.

Carol T

Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug} said...

I would love this book -- Cinderella was always one of my favorite childhood stories :)

Baggins said...

Thanks for the review, sounds like a book I'd enjoy!

FionaChan said...

I crave light cute YA a lot recently, and this one has fairy tale too! Plus I've seen quite a number of positive reviews! *happy

thanks for the review and giveaway!

Ashley said...

At least the prince charming isn't the- "Hold off fair maiden, you must sit in yonder castle while I slay this villainous rouge! You must not tax yourself. Never fear, for prince charming is here!"
And I'm getting rather tired of the "Oh, but of course handsome prince!" types too...!
It's great to see a girl with some spunk, and I really enjoyed Princess at the Midnight Ball, and really liked Poppy's character then. Yay for bringing back old favorites! :)

Kaya said...

Wow-this was a really well rounded review and I now have a good idea of the book. I don't know if I'll be annoyed by the prince's character. Hm.

My name is Patricia said...

I've been finding a lot of book endings have been quite disappointing lately. I wonder if this ending was tidy because it had a fairy godmother in it as a character and people usually think of "tidy" when they think of fairy godmother... Great Review, very honest.

BleuMoon said...

Sounds like a great book! Definitely adding it to my reading list! Thanks for the great review -

bleumoonspirit@gmail.com

Mariah said...

sounds really good!

Vidisha said...

Its like Ella enchanted i want to read it


vidishamun@gmail.com

Hilary St. Laurent said...

the only fairy tale books I've ever been able to get into has been those by Gail Carson Levine, just because she has quite a interesting spin on them. Poppy sounds like a name that isn't used for normal princess books... I might give this one a try, although romance isn't my forte. :P

Great Review!!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Great review and now a book I wat to read!

Dovile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dovile said...

Interesting idea, sounds like a fairy tale for big girls:)

Zombie Girrrl said...

Well, I'm always on the market for a spunky girl hero! Nice review, and I totally know what you mean about having to be in a PINK mood in order to read a PINK book.
BTW, I love your raccoon hat. :)

kimscarecrow said...

I really want to read a remake of Cinderella. This sounds really good.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

This book sounds so good! i've been wanting to read something by this author for so long!!

Rae (In The Forest) said...

This book sounds so good.

dor said...

Ahhh! You got me. Now I have to read it. Thanks.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Kellee said...

Sounds like it is just as fabulous as Jessica Day George's other books :) I cannot wait to read it!

Ruth (Book Focus) said...

Heh sounds good! I really like a positive review that will list some negatives about the book as well... somehow that makes the review seem a lot more trustworthy. I guess it shows the reviewer's being objective about the book. :)

Still sounds like a cool book though! And I think there are *some* very few teenage guys out there like that. Very, very few.

:)

Laura Hartness said...

You are so funny! I love all that obstinate angst that you deal with on book assignments. I think I'm that way with almost anything that has a deadline. I'll find something else to do that's just about as worthy as the thing I'm supposed to be doing. But at the same time I don't (generally) miss deadlines, either. I just might push it to the last second!

I'm glad you got around to reading Princess of Glass! I'm hoping to read this cute & neat story as well.

Laura Hartness
The Calico Critic

Aik said...

Princess of Glass sounds like something I will pick up at the bookstore. I love novels retelling fairy tales or have a magical twist.

Jasindo said...

Oh my goodness! You review books exactly like I do. And here I though I was a lone wolf in a large world. =)

This book sounds like my type of guilty pleasure.

Ashley said...

Sounds like a really lovely book!

Llehn said...

I loved Princess of the Midnight Ball so I'm definitely looking forward to this one!

adge said...

That was a great review. Very well worded.

librarypat said...

Sounds like a charming read. Good job on the review. How dare the prince not act like a normal teen.
Thanks for the review and the recommendation.

Adelina said...

I love fairy tales so I'm really excited to read this one!

misha1989 said...

Loved your review! I am excited about reading the book now.

Ladytink_534 said...

I've always like fairy tales but fairy tale retellings have become a special favorite lately.

Linda Henderson said...

I didn't know anything about this book, so thank you for the information. It sounds interesting.

seriousreader at live dot com

Phanem123 said...

Omg, I love your review. I need to read this book it sounds awesome!

kiirstin said...

Heh, two things: I also get extremely tetchy (love that word) about reading to a deadline. I actually get angry, and occasionally I'll find myself physically unable to pick up a book I have to read.

Second: tidy endings? Do not really do it for me. I like the ending happy, but open. But this sounds good enough to go for anyways.

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