Jessica Day George creatively combines fairy tales and legends in this exciting conclusion to her "Princess" series! The story begins with Petunia - the youngest of the twelve dancing princess - in a beautiful red cape being waylaid by thieves with wolf masks, and races on with her interactions with Oliver - a young Robin-Hood type who charmingly bumbles his way into kidnapping Petunia and then becoming her protector. There are plenty of twists in this story, as Petunia is forced to ask herself who the real "wolves" are. Can this "princess of the silver woods" outsmart her pursuers and find victory in the battle for her heart?
This is my second experience with a Jessica Day George book, and I think the more enjoyable of the two. (The other book being Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.) Her creativity really shines in this story, and this hero has more of his own personality. Oliver is definitely the character who won me over the most - his sweetness, his protective nature, his sense of responsibility, his naivete, and basically his big heart, all add up to an adorable hero.
As for Petunia, she's a strong heroine who doesn't take any guff and who is more than willing to fight against the evil plaguing her family. She kind of surprises me in some ways - not always acting the way I might expect the youngest of twelve to act. (But I guess I wouldn't really know what to expect, in reality!)
The rest of the cast of characters has some hits and some misses. Rose and Galen are wonderful - Galen, especially. He's an awesome big brother to the girls (and a caring husband to Rose). Many of the other sisters who didn't have their own stories in this series are mostly names to me. And some of the villains come across as rather "cardboard." (Of course, I didn't read the other two books in the series, so maybe readers who read the whole series will feel a closer connection to the secondary characters in this installment.)
Princess of the Silver Woods doesn't completely satisfy as a stand-alone, although it's still an enjoyable read. (Thankfully, having read Entwined by Heather Dixon, I was slightly familiar with the tale of the "Twelve Dancing Princesses," so that made it easier to get swept into this third part of the bigger story, I imagine.)The suspense and the sweetness are great, although the style marks it as more of a quick read than a grand piece of literature. But if you're looking for a fun, fast, fairy-tale-inspired read, then Princess of the Silver Woods delivers!
*With thanks to Bloomsbury Children's Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book and share my honest opinion.*
Note: This book will be released December 11, 2012.