The Princess Curse
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The Princess Curse

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,676 ratings  ·  425 reviews
Twelve princesses suffer from a puzzling (if silly) curse, and anyone who ends it will win a reward. Reveka, a sharp-witted and irreverent apprentice herbalist, wants that reward. But her investigations lead to deeper mysteries and a daunting choice—will she break the curse at the peril of her own soul?
ebook, 352 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published September 1st 2011)
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Monica!
Okay guys, you know me. I loathe books that set themselves up for sequels. Or trilogies. Or I WILL JUST WRITE UNTIL I HAVE WRUNG EVERY LAST PENNY OUT OF THE DEEP BROODING VAMPIRE LOVER GENRE.

But this book needs a sequel and there doesn’t appear to be a sequel and my soul is weeping.

Weeping, I tell you.

Because this was a really solid, really enjoyable book! And even though it was this crazed mishmash of stories—The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Hades and Persephone, Beauty and the Beast—everything...more
Misty
Initially: I realized today at work that I wouldn't be coming home and reading this today because I finished it last night, and that made me sad. There is no surer sign of a 5-star book for me, so yeah, I friggin loved this.

Review:

I feel like I've been talking about this book non-stop for all of 2013. And really...I kind of have. Every now and then there are books that come along that you expect to like, and hope to love, and that is enough. But sometimes, you pick up a book, and you're pretty c...more
Kathryn
I LOVED this book.
I picked it up expecting yet another slight and amusing riff on the theme of girl-with-21st-century-attitude-stars-in-retelling-of-classic-fairytale-set-in-unspecified-yet-still-annoyingly-historically-inaccurate-medieval-kingdom.

Instead, I was blown away by Merrie Haskell's impeccably realised and researched world - the 15th century principality of Sylvania, (a country so convincing I was quite shocked to discover in the Author's Notes that she made it up!)whose Price - lackin...more
Grace
This is an extremely well done mix-up of “Beauty and the Beast” meets “12 Dancing Princesses” which then collides with the Greek tale of Hades and Persephone. Plus, a few more references that sound very familiar, but I can’t put my finger on. (I.e. - Dragos’s hinted at tale.)

The characters didn’t blend. The dialogue, while tasting almost too modern, was quick and easy to get sucked into. The writing style didn’t embellish, but felt comfortable in its own skin (if that makes sense) which made the...more
Sara
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses with a few other tales sprinkled in. Reveka a herbalist's apprentice is determined to solve the silly curse of the castle that makes the princesses ruin their dancing slippers nightly. Revka wants the prize money from solving the mystery so that she can buy herself a place in a convent so she can become a herbalist. Revka soon finds that the curse is not as silly as she once thought and is swept into a world she...more
Violinknitter
I've only just started this book, but I am absolutely loving it.

I have a few pet peeves about fantasy books set in a medieval world. Authors often puts modern attitudes about women's roles (and men's roles) in the mouths of protagonists who could have no concept of such things given the society in which they were raised. Also, novels are often set in a generically medieval frame, where clothing, technology, and politics that existed hundreds of years apart in the real world are presented as if...more
Trishnyc
I picked this up expecting a quick, easy and light read. Instead, I got a surprisingly well thought out and interesting story that pulled together different fairy tales and did it very well.

Thirteen year old Reveka is a herbalist apprentice who has set herself the task of curing the silly curse on the twelve princesses. Every morning, the princesses wake up exhausted, shoes in tatters yet seeming not to have left their room. No one can figure out why this happens and though many have tried to fi...more
Nightmist
To tell you the truth I loved it. It was really amaizing, great plot. It obsorbed me till the end. But I wasnt too fond of the way it ended... Dont get me wrong, it was a good way to end it, I mean normally these kind of books end with "... and they lived happily ever after". or something similar. But I thought it ended too abruptly, many things that were introduced in the book either, just dissapered without explanation or do not finish their story. For example: After Reveka found out that King...more
Rae
Reveka is a delightful heroine whose observations made me laugh out loud. Wonderful, detailed world-building. The tension and plot build slowly and steadily, which worked fine for me, and I hope younger readers will give it the chance it deserves because it pays off. This book does one of my very favorite things, which is to introduce an unsympathetic secondary, who through deft characterization, I gradually learn to respect and even like.
Jill Furedy
This one leapt right to the top of my picks for young readers...of which I am not one. Way too old for this stuff, but I loved it anyway! I had seen this title mentioned a couple of times, and as I love fairy tales and the 12 dancing princesses story was a favorite growing up, I had to read this one. I wasn't expecting what I got. When I opened it to a glossary of Romanian words, I realized there was going to be a lot more to the fairy tale I knew. A little further into the book, I realized thi...more
Natalie
I loved it.

How could I not? Two of my favorite fairytales mixed with one of my favorite myths? This story is part "Twelve Dancing Princesses," mixed with "Beauty and the Beast" with a little Persephone and Hades sprinkled on top. Pure delight. I loved the Romanian flair as well. This is a really fabulous book and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I might even have to move it to the favorites folder.

Reveka (pretty name!) is the herb apprentice. She doesn't have much use for the sil...more
Claire
Ok this tips it, now there is a shelf just for 12 dancing princesses retellings. What amazes me is the huge difference in each tale.
In The Princess Curse there are interesting twists as the story is sympathetic to the underworld King who entraps the princesses who must visit and dance every night. Reveka is a young herbalist trained in convents now living with her dad for the first time, because he has stopped being a soldier and can care for her. They have a prickly relationship because the Ab...more
Krystle
By now I must have read four or five variations of this retelling so I’m quite familiar plotwise as to the basic conventions of the story.

This book falls around the middle.

Reveka is a charming, head strong, judgmental, and quick-thinking girl. Something I like. Her whole herbalist dreams are pretty awesome. I love how this story focuses on someone outside of the affected parties but instead of it being a prince come to rescue them, it’s actually a girl in search of a dowry and a victim of her ow...more
Bluerose's  Heart
The story is told from the point of view of Reveka, a thirteen year old girl. The Princess Curse is a really interesting mix between the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and the myth of Hades and Pershephone. With this story, though, you get an outsider's view of the Dancing Princesses. It's suppose to be somewhat of a mystery through the first half of the book, but if you know the story at all, you'll know what is going on.

The humor in the book seemed to be targeted for a young boy at ti...more
Kate
Very impressive blending of the Grimms' tale of the twelve dancing princesses, the Greek myth of Persephone going into the underworld, and the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Reveka has just entered into service as an herbalist's apprentice in Castle Sylvian, and is determined to break the curse upon Prince Vasile's twelve daughters, whose shoes are in tatters every morning as if they have been dancing all night. I loved the pacing and tone of the beginning of the book, set at Castle Sylvian, a...more
Lauren
What’s with all the books with cliffhanger endings that don’t mention they’re the first in a series? This is the third or fourth book I’ve read in the last year that goes “oh, and, while we’re on the last page, just in case you thought everything was going to be resolved – no, here’s a bombshell!” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: as a reader, I want to know if I’m signing up for a book or a series. It’s like Gilligan’s Island, only the Skipper and Gilligan knew it wasn’t going to be a...more
Scarlett
Originally posted on my blog here.

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...more
næntsi
Nooooo—I didn't want this book to end! I'm literally in tears that it finally had to. Hoping for a sequel. Or two, or three. But if not, I'll try to convince myself I'm satisfied with just one. The Princess Curse has been the most fun I've had with a book in years. I mean, yes, I loved other books. They were great in their own ways, but it's been tough finding something that's made me laugh and giggle so many times over the course of the story. The thing with Haskell's humor is that it's not the...more
Nancy Kelley
Some books are almost too perfect to review. Nothing you can say about them matches up to how wonderful they were. The Princess Curse is such a book for me.

This is the second telling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses I read in the space of 24 hours. Once again, all the familiar elements are there--princesses dancing every night, a father who offers a reward to whoever solves the mystery, and all who attempt falling asleep. But as in any good fairy tale re-telling, each part is twisted just slight...more
Rebecca
This creative and original retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" is set in Sylvania, a fictional region of Romania, in the fifteenth century. Thirteen-year-old Reveka has recently arrived at Castle Sylvian, where she is an apprentice to the castle's herbalist. Because her mother died when she was a baby and her father was a soldier, Reveka grew up in a convent until her father retired from the army, and it was there that she was first trained in herbalism. Unlike most girls, Reveka hopes...more
Roslyn
I really enjoyed this. It's written in language that's evocative and layered, and not least among the things I appreciated about it is that there was no villain. Of course, villains are beautifully conveyed in some of my favourite novels, but I do get tired of villains sometimes and it's a pleasure to read a book where the central conflict doesn't depend on one. Here the conflict centres on the choices that its narrator, Reveka, has to make.

I also like the way the ending doesn't tie everything u...more
Melissa
Wow I can't believe my luck.When I picked this up from vine I didn't have high hopes. I thought this would be a sweet retelling of a classic fairy-tale simple and to the point. I got a book I couldn't put down and a world I was drawn into and a character I admired and loved! Granted I am a lover of fairy-tale retelling.This is much more then one fairy-tale and the book is not even done. It came to a nice conclusion but I need the rest! I don't want to wait! I couldn't believe this was a first ti...more
Jaime Lee
"The Princess Curse" is a wonderful tale that mixes old school fairy tales with mythology and modern wit. The heroine of the story is Reveka, a young apprentice who enters into a kingdom where the 12 princesses of the castle have been cursed by sleeplessness and shoes that are forever wearing through each night. This is a direct parallel to the Grimm fairy tale that is easily recognizable. However, since the mystery of the curse is uncovered from Reveka's perspective, it has a fresh feeling. Mor...more
Laura
What a great blending of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and "Beauty and the Beast"! Set in Sylvania, an Eastern European country places near the borders of Turkey, Moldova, Hungary and Transylvania, Reveka's life has changed from studying in a convent to being the herbalist's apprentice in a castle. Here, she tries to win the dowry promised by the Prince to the one who solves the curse his daughters are under: why do they have bloody, blistered feet every morning, why do those that see them at...more
Stephanie
Merrie and I have known each other for a while, and I LOVE her short stories, so when she sold her MG novel The Princess Curse, I was thrilled for her - and also incredibly impatient to read it!

Luckily, I enjoyed it every bit as much as I'd hoped. It's a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" with a strong, smart (non-princess) heroine who has big (but totally plausible and intelligent) dreams and is willing to do whatever she has to to achieve them. I love girls like that, in fiction and...more
Amanda
I picked this book up thinking that it was a light, humorous romp poking fun at a bunch of princess tropes. (There's nothing wrong with that sort of thing, if you're in the mood for it, and I frequently am.) This is not that book. Well, this is sort of that book, if you took that book and added ten times the depth and maturity, and then sprinkled in a generous helping of solid story-telling.

The Princess Curse is a mix of many different fairy tales, so skillfully done that I didn't even notice th...more
Brandy Painter
Review originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell is a retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". Yes. Another one. I have officially lost count of how many this makes. This one is a bit different though because it doesn't just stick to that tale.

I enjoyed Reveka's character. She was brave, spunky, resourceful, and quick thinking. I loved that the heroine of the story was not one of the princesses, but a simple servant whose goal was to be a famo...more
Rachel Neumeier
Okay, full disclosure: I know the author.

But!

What I did not know when I ordered her novel, which just came out (at last!), is that it’s a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling and a Beauty and the Beast retelling (to a lesser extent, though). What a great idea! I wish I’d thought of that! Plus, if she’d asked me to name my two favorite fairy tales, well, there they are. (Really. My favorite version prior to this was Robin McKinley’s short retelling in The Door in the Hedge.)

Plus the Eastern Europe...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
The Princess Curse by Merrie Haskell retells the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from a different point of view – an onlooker. A young herbalist apprentice named Reveka. Her devotion to herb lore makes her certain that there is something she can do to help end the curse, so she throws herself into the task with no concern for herself. What follows brings the best of fairy tale lore alive with fantasy and determination. I absolutely couldn’t get enough of the story!

This is one stand-alone...more
Bonnie (A Backwards Story)
This review was a part of Mythological Mondays on my blog, featured here. Please visit to get more out of this review!

You might be thinking THE PRINCESS CURSE by Merrie Haskell is about THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES!” This is where you’d be WRONG. Well, maybe not wrong, exactly, but not right, either. The summary of this book is very much about THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES…and if you see the book in person, the flap talks about how this classic tale is mashed up with another well-loved story, B...more
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Should this book be in a series? 1 6 Apr 25, 2014 04:09PM  
Netting? 2 7 Mar 28, 2014 03:05PM  
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Stay in the boat, I told myself, watching them walk up to the pavilion. I'll just stay in the boat. I won't go anywhere near that creature.
But in spite of that wise warning, I climbed out of the boat.
Fine, stretch your legs, I told myself. Just don't follow them.
But of course, I followed them.
You are without question your own worst enemy, I scolded myself, even as I tiptoed after them.”
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