First Lines: An hour before Azalea’s first ball began, she paced the ballroom floor, tracing her toes in a waltz.  She had the opening dance with the King…who danced like a brick.

When it comes down to it, I really enjoy a good fairytale.  The 12 Dancing Princesses is one that flies under the radar, though, because it hasn’t been picked up by Disney and turned into an animated, bouncing musical.  So I find it interesting to see how it’s written.  Many of them stick to what I think is the original story.  There’s not many variations between versions.

Azalea is the oldest of her sisters and the one destined to be the next queen.  Her life is close to perfect…until her mother dies and her father goes off to war to avoid the memories.  Now Az is in charge of the household and her sisters.  In boredom and desperation to dance again, Az finds a magical passage in the castle that leads to a land coated in silver and ruled by a man named Keeper.  Night after night, the princesses dance there.  But what happens when they get in over their heads and Az wants out?  Will Keeper let them go?

I will say that I can completely relate to Azalea.  I am the oldest in my family as well, so it’s very easy for me to relate to the lengths Az will go to protect her family.  The job of the oldest is to pretty much be the ambassador between the parents and the rest of the kids, which is exactly what Az did, along with so much else.

I really liked how vibrant all the characters were, even the ones that only played a small part.  Everyone had a distinct personality or something that made them stand out from the other characters.  That was really nice.  I think the fact that the book was nearly 500 pages allowed for that to develop.

That said, I think it hit a bit of a slump in the middle.  The beginning introduced everything and got the action going, but the middle tripped a bit.  You could tell it was building for the ending, but parts almost seemed like they were being mentioned too early, at least to me.  Not much really happened in the middle.  Once it started getting closer to the end, it picked up again.  However, I didn’t feel like the ending was completely to par with the beginning of the story.  Still good, though.  It just could have used some work.


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