July 18, 2010

Review: PRINCESS OF GLASS by Jessica Day George

PRINCESS OF GLASS by Jessica Day George
Young adult fantasy
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Hardcover, 272 pages
May 25, 2010 (in stores now)

From the back flap:

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.

The cover: Once again, this was a book I noticed because of the cover. Something about ballgowns and pretty slippers always draw me in, and the mysterious look on the model's face, as if she is concerned and hesitant about something, made me curious enough to read what the book was about.

The book: I had never read the precursor to GLASS, PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL. In fact, I didn't even know GLASS was a sequel when I agreed to read it. I'm sure having read the first one would have given me an extra layer of comprehension, but the story stood well on its own. There was no information recap reminding the reader what happened in MIDNIGHT, which I appreciated. The backstory was explained throughout, though it was difficult (but certainly not necessary) to keep up with Poppy's sisters' names (all flowers, Orchid, Rose, Daisy, Lily, etc...). Besides Poppy there are 11 other sisters mentioned, and I wouldn't mind reading future books about their adventures.

As the main character, Princess Poppy is GLASS's strongest asset. She is not your typical princess, playing cards better than any man, swearing, and getting into general mischeif, and she is all the more endearing for it. Poppy has a haunting past, as well as a murky and misunderstood familial reputation, which colors everything she does.
Ellen, or Eleanora, a maid with a sinister double identity and mysterious past, came off very unlikable until she was almost at the point of no redemption. I really wanted to feel for her, but she just kept doing things (from Poppy's point of view, anyway) that aggravated me. Thankfully, once I saw the world from Ellen/Eleanora's point of view, she was redeemed.
The love interest, Prince Christian, is more a pawn than a player in this book, but as it is usually the woman in the pawn's role, it was fun to see the guy be pushed and pulled by forces other than his own will. Roger Thwaite, a more minor character who I cannot say much about without spoiling the story, is a far more interesting character in my opinion.
While the prologue confused me slightly (even after finishing the book), it also hinted at the major conflict and enticed me to keep reading. While reading GLASS, I kept thinking I knew exactly where the story would go, and then it would veer in another direction. By the last third of the book, I knew to stay on my toes. The end was satisfying, though possibly too 'neat' for some.
Especially recommended for: lovers of fairy tales, fairy tale retellings, and sweet romances.
ARC courtesy of Traveling ARC Tours.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review! I've been meaning to read Jessica Day George (just discovered her, although I'm in love with fairy tale re-tellings), and this sounds like a great book. :)

Abby Stevens said...

Sandy - I'd love to know what you think of it. Be sure to let me know!

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