Jessica Day George
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Release Date: December 11, 2012
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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.
I love, love, love Jessica Day George. Her entire Princess trilogy has been fantastic, and this book was no exception. It was romantic and sweet but also a bit daring and dangerous, and overall fabulous. Though I didn't love this one as much as the previous two and it is my least favorite book in the trilogy, I still absolutely loved it. It was a fantastic conclusion and it excited me to my very bones. Every danger was very real, and the mystery was intense. I fell in love with the story and didn't want it to end.
Petunia is again, probably my least favorite of the three princesses featured in this series, but I still adored her. She was brave, and although she could be impulsive and a bit dense, she still was fun to be around. She was far from perfect, although I still had a difficult time connecting to her for whatever reason. She wasn't entirely relatable. Even so, she never whined, which was a relief. There wasn't one defining thing about her that I disliked, and overall she was a well-developed character.
THE LOVE INTEREST
Oliver is introduced as somewhat of a bandit. Cheated by the war with Analousia, his land has been taken away and in order to feed his people and survive, he's had to steal and trespass. Even so, he's far from bad-hearted. He only does this for survival. He's angry, but he still doesn't take hard vengeance where he could, not when he knows it's better not to. And he's fiercely loyal. He'll do anything for Petunia, take any risk, if it means keeping her safe. He puts others before himself no matter what.
Oh my, the plot. Fantastic, of course. When I first read about it, I feared that it might be too similar to the others. I could not be more pleased to be wrong. It was definitely a unique tale in its own right and a pleasure to read. I loved the fairytale aspect and the way it was woven into the story, all while remaining true to itself.
It's a retelling of Red Riding Hood, but there were some other fantastic things mixed in. The King Under Stone is back, and he'll do anything to get Rose and his sisters trapped in his realm. There's an elderly grandmother whose plans may not be all innocence, and a handsome prince who might only be in this for his own gain. There are also wolves, but they may not be the enemy.
There was mystery, which was awesome. Gotta love mystery. You don't really know who is on what side until the end, or where everything is going.
There are appearances by several older and much-loved characters who end up having surprisingly major roles. Everyone is important in this story.
More than that, though, is that there is tragedy, and that's what really opened up this book for me. I cried. I cried my eyes out. For while there was happiness and love, there was also great sacrifice. And that sacrifice broke my heart. I love that it wasn't all simple, and that there was pain.
So, the romance. Eee! Well, to be honest, it was a tad instalovey. Even so, it wasn't horribly instalovey and I did like it. For the longest time I had a difficult time seeing what they loved about each other, but eventually it really did become apparent. It wasn't perfect, but it could have been worse. I also think that a different path in the romance might have been interesting, but it was barely explored. Even so, I do like Oliver and Petunia together. I like the bond they share. We also get glimpses at the other princess' romances and I adored that too.
Jess' writing is fantastic. It really is. It uses alternate POV from Petunia and Oliver. It's third person, and yet we still get very deep insights into the person. It's awesome being inside their heads and amazing how she manages to give each character such a unique voice. I could always tell who was speaking. Also, the description was marvelous. I love the way she describes the different worlds and places. It's like they literally come to life, real places that truly exist.
The ending was marvelous. For the longest I was worried, wondering how she was going to make it into a happy ending. There as so much trouble and drama that it seemed like things could never be resolved. But of course, they were! There was happy fairy tale magic that thrilled me and was absolutely perfect. There was so much sweetness and happiness I thought that I would burst (in a good way!). There were other characters too who finally get their own happy endings, and it was basically just perfection.
So, did I absolutely love Princess of the Silver Woods? Um, heck yes! I'll definitely be rereading it in the future, as well as whatever Jessica decides to publish. I am totally a fan for life. I also wholeheartedly recommend this book. It's a sweet, cute fantastical romance with a bit of mystery and a dash of magic, making it fun and gorgeous. It is a truly enjoyable read that I think will find its way into many reader's hearts. I absolutely adored it, and I think if you give it a try you will, too. You can also read any of these three books without reading the others, but it's preferable to read all three!
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