The Thirteenth Princess

The Thirteenth Princess

Book - 2009
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Zita, cast aside by her father and raised as a kitchen maid, learns when she is nearly twelve that she is a princess and that her twelve sisters love her, and so when she discovers they are victims of an evil enchantment, she desperately tries to save them. Inspired by the Grimm fairy tale, "The twelve dancing princesses."
Publisher: New York : Harper, 2009
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780061824999
Branch Call Number: FICTION Zah
Description: 243 pages ; 22 cm


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FindingJane Nov 30, 2016

This is a splendid re-working of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, one of the weirder tales from the Brothers Grimm. Tangled up in this is a tale of old magic, of terrible wishes granted and the penalties for giving and withholding love.

I admired Zita’s spirit and her can-do attitude. Having been condemned to the kitchens by a neglectful father, she learns baking, cleaning, cooking and the value of appreciating the lower orders. While I adore stories of fighting queens and princesses, stories about princesses who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty are equally appealing. Zita understands the value of hard work by the servants—how would the castle survive without them? But it’s when she learns of an old magic afflicting her sisters that the story really comes into its own.

The love of the girls for each other is incandescent. Far from shunning their red-headed little sister, who looks decidedly different from her blonde older siblings, all the girls dote and adore her and she keenly returns their affection. It is wonderful to read the passages wherein the girls shower Zita with affection and she rewards them with tales of what’s going on below stairs. You understand completely when she decides she’s going to put a stop to what’s making them ill, even though she’s deathly afraid.

The boredom of 12 royal girls who spend their days learning deportment, going riding and other days cooped up indoors when there’s nothing to do is palpable. When you read about Zita’s life of bustling about in one chore after another, you understand her sisters’s envy.

The denouement and revelation of the mystery behind the dancing girls (something never really explained in the original fairy tale) left me reeling. It is very much of a fitting with the rest of the book. Almost everyone in this novel yearns for love from someone and, when they can’t get it, dark forces come into play and nearly destroy everything.

Love given or love thwarted can be equally devastating. Quite a lesson to learn from a supposed children’s book.

Mar 20, 2016

i personally loved how her sisters were nice to her.

Oct 23, 2015

The book was an interesting twist on the story of the twelve dancing princesses. I was a little disappointed in the conclusion between Zita and her father considering how much their relationship was in the foreground of the story. I would have liked to know more about the mother since most of the princesses had a few memories of her before she died. Over all it was a good read.

Mar 25, 2015

I really liked this book. I think it explains the bond between sisters. I recommend it for girls 10 and up.

Nov 12, 2014

I liked this book, but I feel like I would have liked it more if I hadn't already read adaptations of the 12 Dancing Princesses that were very good (such as Princess of Glass and Wildwood Dancing). It actually made me quite sad. The author doesn't explicitly mention sex or rape, but the fact that the king got drunk and wanted another son made me cringe. It's not as innocent as it seems even though it's a juvenile fiction book. Still, the rest of the story is enjoyable and I read it very quickly. I recommend it for teenagers.

Jun 19, 2014

A fascinating retelling of the traditional Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale...I thought it was cool how all the names meant something. Amazing book!

Aug 23, 2013

A cute and quick read.

Aug 01, 2013

It sounded pretty compelling, and I guess it was, but I wanted more. I wanted more of the other sisters, I wanted more plot development, and I wanted more character development. I thought that it was cheesy and I got quite annoyed with Breckin. The pacing is a little slow and nothing happens until the end, really. I thought that the whole plot of the book was mashed together very loosely, and I wished for more magic, more princesses, and less lingering on who Zita is and what her father did.

BPLNextBestKids Aug 18, 2012

Anyone who likes fairy tales knows the story of the twelve dancing princesses, but here the story is told with a twist. There was a thirteenth (unlucky number!) princess who, because she was still not the son the king wished for, was sent to be a castle servant and since the queen had died giving birth to her she was blamed (she believed) for her mother’s death. As she watches her sisters become exhausted and sick she determines to discover the cause (dancing, of course!) A wonderful new look at an old story. Reviewed by BPL volunteer EE.

Roxxibear Jul 01, 2012

I loveeed this book! It's not a typical princess story like Cinderella and others, it's more of an adventure story. It was very interesting and engaging, you should read it you won't be dissapointed!

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Jul 04, 2016

black_cat_2717 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jun 27, 2014

violet_panda_347 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Mar 27, 2013

Love_Legolas_111 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jul 15, 2012

Blue_Cat_254 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 16


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