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Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George

This review is dedicated to a special someone who’s never too old for princess books 😉

Princess of the Silver Woods
by Jessica Day George

Princess of the Silver Woods (Princess #3)

By: Jessica Day George

Release Date: December 11, 2012

Rating: 3 Stars

Summary: When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor’s twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of Westfalin, she welcomes the change of scenery. But in order to reach Westfalin, Petunia must pass through a forest where strange two-legged wolves are rumored to exist. Wolves intent on redistributing the wealth of the noble citizens who have entered their territory. But the bandit-wolves prove more rakishly handsome than truly dangerous, and it’s not until Petunia reaches her destination that she realizes the kindly grandmother she has been summoned to visit is really an enemy bent on restoring an age-old curse. The stories of Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood get a twist as Petunia and her many sisters take on bandits, grannies, and the new King Under Stone to end their family curse once and for all.

Definitely one for the fans. I still think Princess of Glass is the best book in this series, but Princess of the Silver Woods isn’t without its charms. Yes, the story itself is flawed and more than a little repetitive, but, with all the familiar characters from the first two books back, sometimes, it’s just nice to catch up with your favorites and ask, hey, what have you been up to?

Still, I have to wonder if being a direct sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball rather being more of a standalone like Princess of Glass was ends up hurting this book in the long run. The first few chapters start with a bang and are not bad at all, and Jessica Day George really does a great job distinguishing Petunia from her sisters Rose and Poppy, but the beginning is just way too explanatory with too much information being given through exposition. A lot of dialogue and entire paragraphs are spent explaining the fallout from the events of the first book, Oliver’s situation, why he’s this bandit earl robbing passing coaches in the Westfalin Woods; the Grand Duchess and her connection to the King Under Stone via the Nine Daughters of Russaka legend; the whole political situation with the different kingdoms. The connection between the Grand Duchess and the former King Under Stone in particular, I get it, this doesn’t have to be repeated ad nauseum until I feel like shaking whichever character is discussing this and yelling at them, ‘so she’s in league with the King Under Stone, what are you going to do about it?’ It just seemed like plot development’s forced on me via endless speculation, Princess of Glass did the whole storytelling business so much better.

Come to think of it, Princess of Glass also handled its cast way better. The problem with the twelve dancing princesses legend is that there are just way too many princesses, in a novel setting adding in the princes, the villains, various supporting characters, there are just too many players and not enough space to develop them all. Actually, that’s a big reason why I thought Princess of Glass was such a huge improvement over Princess of the Midnight Ball, not just because Poppy’s the spunkiest, most compelling of the bunch, but because I could add up the main characters in that book and not get to twelve, everybody got their moment. So while I like Petunia, like how she’s not the little girl from the first book but just as cute with her matches and her pistol, and Oliver always saying the wrong thing is definitely not Galen or Christian, everybody else sort of faded into the background because of the huge cast of characters, despite Jessica Day George’s best efforts.

I do appreciate those efforts though – there are plenty of Easter eggs for anyone who’s paid real attention to the first two books. Poppy learns riding! Walter and that old lady are back! Petunia’s (still) a pyromaniac! But while the Easter eggs are very cool, the ending tries a little too hard to recall the ending of the first book, besides a weirdly incorporated Red Riding Hood scene, I felt like I was reading an almost event by event rehash of how Galen defeated the first King Under Stone – the bad guys even fall for the same obvious things they did the first time! -… well except now Oliver’s in it too. And getting to that point, parts here and there feel forced, the Red Riding Hood scene again, the princesses’ explanation for how they ended up in their final predicament, another scene with Petunia falling into an obvious trap that just left me at a loss for words, and not in a good way. Still, I really can’t complain about the results even if I complain about the methods, because the last couple of throwbacks to the end of Princess of the Midnight Ball were pretty well done and one of the high points of this book.

I wouldn’t recommend picking up this sequel without reading at least Princess of the Midnight Ball, because quite a bit of knowledge about that book’s required to really appreciate the finer points of this one, but for fans of the first book, Princess of the Silver Woods isn’t a bad way to end the series. Even if at times it does try my patience.

Go to Mitch’s review on Goodreads.

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