by Yakira Goldsberry
*cover and synopsis from Goodreads*
Can she break the curse in time to save her sisters? She may conquer more than the Midnight King; she may learn to conquer herself.
In this retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and Cinderella, Faye must sacrifice herself to save her sisters, or risk them being trapped in the Underworld forever, suffering from the curse she helped create. After being separated for three years from her sisters except when she dances with Pathos, the Midnight King, at midnight on a full moon, Faye finally sees a chance to rescue them all.
But things are not as easy as they appear. Pathos, the midnight king, is determined to keep her in the Underworld with him.
Curse of the Midnight King is somewhere between 3-stars and 3.5-stars for me.
I found the premise to be really neat. I’d never seen a Cinderella and 12 Dancing Princesses mashup before, and I think that the author did a nice job of balancing both of the fairy tales in the plot. It maybe had more 12 Dancing Princesses elements, but the Cinderella aspect of the story didn’t feel lost.
It took me a little bit to orientate myself in the world at first and figure out what exactly each kingdom was and how it was tied to the various races (Faerie, Enchanter, and Human). But once I got a grasp on it, I followed the story fine.
The world-building was well done. I always had a clear mental image of the story. I do think that it maybe could have had some more original elements to it since it did feel a little bit like the classic fairy tale setting. But I didn’t mind it.
The characters were well done. I do wish that I could have gotten to see more of Faye’s relationship with her sisters, though I also see how it didn’t really work to that. But I think that Faye’s arc and struggle with guilt could have been strengthened if we’d gotten to see how much she loved her family, rather than just being told about it for the most part.
I personally found Pathos to possibly be the most interesting character in the story. He was probably the most multi-faceted character. I would love liked to get see more of what exactly went on inside of his mind and such. I always find villains who don’t seem to be 100% evil a touch more interesting.
The plot, while being a retelling of both fairy tales, also had its own elements to it, which made the story stronger. The ending hinted at what is to come in the rest of the series but didn’t end on a terrible cliffhanger.
My biggest critique is probably that I think the prologue could have been better executed. First off, it felt pretty long for a prologue. Secondly, I wonder if there might have been more tension, or a different kind of tension, to the story if we didn’t know exactly what Pathos was up to. Now, I’m not saying that there shouldn’t have been a prologue. My favorite 12 Dancing Princesses retelling, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George has a prologue, and I think it does a great job of setting up some of the stakes to that story. So, yeah. I think that the prologue to Curse of the Midnight King could have been improved.
Overall, Curse of the Midnight King was an enjoyable fairy tale retelling.
Cautions: one kiss; moderate violence