Review: Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

31 Dec

I get that it looks like Midnight Ball... But she seems younger. And freaked out.

Summary: 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 Ellen is tricked by a vengeful fairy godmother into competing with Poppy for the eligible prince.

Oh, Jessica! Yet again you’ve taken a five minute fairy-tale that’s been done by Disney, Barbie and every idea-stealing scoundrel in between and turned it into a full-length, honestly good novel. Unfortunately, while you PWNED Barbie’s The Twelve Dancing Princesses (still arguably one of Barbie’s best…) in Princess of the Midnight BallPrincess of Glass was a bit harder to follow than Disney’s Cinderella.

A little background: This book is a companion to Princess of the Midnight Ball, which I own and re-read occasionally when all else fails. When I found the sequel, I did a little victory dance, checked my sticky note that lists the princesses in birth order, and tucked in.

Shouldn’t have bothered with the sticky note.

Midnight Ball was about all twelve of Westfalin’s (think pre-WWI Germany) princesses, but mostly about Rose, the oldest. Glass isolates Poppy, one of the middle sisters and definitely the snarkiest and therefore funniest, by sending her away to a foreign country. Other than her twin, and her two older sisters, who I definitely remember, knowing the whole dozen is pointless.

Still, read Midnight Ball first. It does a lot more explaining of Poppy’s world and surroundings. Plus, there are several references in Glass that will make you smile, and George gets to remind us that Galen stabbed people with knitting needles.

Much like Rose, Poppy is a relatable main character, and is fleshed out through her own POV and the eyes of others. I didn’t have the same instant connection to her that I had with Rose–her oldest-sister problems were a key factor in our bonding–but Poppy is a heroine that you want to cheer for. Particularly as her prince is under a spell and basically useless for large chunks of the book. And her soldier brother-in-laws have given her some fun habits, like card-sharking and swearing. But best of all, Poppy takes over Galen’s fanatical knitting. =D

The thing that I love about George’s books, and that makes them worth reading, is her way of making her characters real and worthy of romance, then giving it to them in a way that makes the reader believe they’ve earned it. Whatever else happened in this book, that was undeniably there. Galen and Rose only make a brief cameo at the end, just enough to make them more than unresponding pen-pals, but enough to assure us that Galen still loves Rose, and loves her sisters, which is exactly why we liked him in the first place. Therefore qualifying this as a sequel.

Meanwhile, Poppy and Christian, her sadly non-knitting or needle-stabbing prince, have their fill of teen-lit moments that aren’t direct rip-offs from the last book.

But there was some carry-over from Midnight Ball that went too far. Poppy has dreams that seemed to be foreboding something but never went anywhere (Under Stone Jr mocks her but never delivers), and Rose and Galen appear by crazy I’m-the-author-and-I-have-the-power!! magic, just so someone can tease Poppy. It’s great that they come… But people should have become close enough in the story that someone already there could tease them.

And, of course, I was TOTALLY CONFUSED by how the predicament that took 150 pages to set up was solved in about 2. Everyone wanders around, confused, leading to the reader’s confusion and then… Oh, hey… we’re out, I guess… Even Christian’s moment of remembering Poppy and what’s going on just made me think, “Oh, good… that’ll make things easier.”

Basically, Jessica Day George knew what was going on, and showed what was going on, but forgot to explain why it worked.

Let me be clear, though: this book was good. I read it in about six hours.

It’s maybe not as good as the first one, but it’s still worth reading and devoting your time to. The beginning and middle were great, and the end was satisfying if confusing. There’s a host of good, believable characters, who serve as their own foils while under the spell.

And, like George’s other books, I already want to go back for Round II, because I know there will be hints that I missed or just another good experience.

Four and a half out of five stars.





One Response to “Review: Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George”

  1. Miss Clark January 13, 2011 at 11:06 pm #

    Loved the review, Kristine! Did a great job of pointing out where this one went off the rails just a bit, esp. when compared to Princess of the Midnight Ball. I’ll be adding you to my blogroll:)

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