Title: Princess of the Silver Woods
Author: Jessica Day George
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Publishing
Rating: 4 Stars
When Petunia, the youngest of King Gregor's twelve dancing daughters, is invited to visit an elderly friend in the neighboring country of estfalin, 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.
Petunia's tale is one of great courage and pluck in the face of seemingly hopeless circumstances. Readers have long been enchanted by the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, by individualizing these royal ladies, we are able to get the long awaited look at who they are.
Petunia may be the youngest of the twelve, but she is by no means a wallflower. This gun toting spit-fire is a force to be reckoned with as she faces foes ranging from a down on his luck Earl reduced to robbing her, to the darkly wicked princes of the Kingdom Under Stone.
In our pint-sized heroine, we find a girl who knows her mind and her heart and is not afraid to follow both. Petunia is a character reminiscent of those penned by Tamora Pierce.
Though this is Petunia's story for the most part, there are a whole host of princes, sorceresses, bandits, and as always, her sisters. This is a well-rounded story character wise and the color that said characters provides more than enough interest when the action hits a lull.
The one negative that stands out in this read is the fact that so much of the first 50% of the book is spent in preparation for the action of the last half.
This book is the third in the Princess series, but doesn't depend on the others for set up or reference.
As a result, it may be read as a stand alone or in conjunction with its series.