The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler

Library eBook

This was a little book I read pretty quickly - it's intended for tween-aged girls, provided they still like princess stories (which I certainly did at that age). I read it pretty quickly, and it's obviously much, much too young for me, but it was a nice throw-back to the kinds of books I loved the best as a kid and made me feel very nostalgic.
I'll admit that I read it at all because I have a habit of reading (and adoring) any book with Kinuko Y. Craft's art gracing the cover. She largely illustrates for fantasy and some sci-fi novels, but they almost always happen to be the very specific kind of fantasy or sci-fi novel that I like, but she also does fairy tale books as well. Anyway, I'm not sure I can accurately confirm (if anyone reading this can, please leave me a message?) that this was Craft's work on the cover, but it certainly looks that way. A few years ago I read a very similar book called Wildwood Dancing in which she did illustrate, It is very, very close to this one - they're both retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It's really hard for me not to compare this book to that one. Wildwood Dancing was perfectly crafted - I would argue it's almost wasted on younger readers. While The Thirteenth Princess was well written, it wasn't the masterpiece Wildwood Dancing was, though it was cute and comforting to read.

The Thirteenth Princess is about Zita, a young girl who was raised in a castle as a servant, but only recently discovered that she is the youngest sister of the 12 princesses. Though she was kept away from her sisters her entire life, they still love her and steal away chances to spend time with her. They start a weekly tradition of allowing her to visit their massive bedroom once a week. Everything is great, until suddenly their heath begins to wane. Zita realizes that they are under a spell and as the only sister not being raised as a princess was over looked and their fore is free to rescue them.
Personally, I found Zita a trifle irritating - she's a romantic little fire brand, so I know a lot of readers will actually love her. (That's just a personal preference.) And I'm sure I'm missing a lot of information here, but I didn't dwell on this book very long to say a whole lot more. I would recommend reading Wildwood Dancing before this one, but if you know a bookish little girl (and with it being summer vacation...) this might be something good to read.

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