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. Quoted from Goodreads
I finished this book weeks ago, right after it came out, but then I started my lists, and I can't believe I'm just getting to it now. This was a really fun book and an excellent conclusion to the trilogy, and it is a conclusion. I felt like the first two books were loosely connected, but the stories were rather separate in themselves. Not so with this one. You absolutely have to read Princess of the Midnight Ball to appreciate the ending of this book.
I love the idea behind this book. Not only does it pull in the story of the twelve dancing princesses again, but it combines Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood (which seems a little obvious now, with all that alliteration, repeating words, and such), which I feel was genius. It switches viewpoints between Petunia and Oliver, and gives each of them their own version of a fairytale, so both carry equal weight as main characters.
I enjoyed Petunia as a main character. One of the hardest things about this series is the number of princesses you have to deal with. It's hard to keep track of all those personalities and names, but I think Jessica Day George did a good job of making Petunia stand out. It helps that she's the baby of the family, and while I don't think her character is quite as distinct as Poppy's or Rose's, she is never lost in the shuffle. I really liked getting to know her better.
I also really enjoyed Oliver's character. He starts out as the Robin Hood figure, but I wish there would have been a little bit more of that legend included in the story. Don't get me wrong, I liked Oliver's personality and back story, but I wish they would have expanded the legend a bit more. There were not nearly enough arrows involved.
My greatest complaint about the story is the insta-love. Oliver and Petunia meet each other for one day, and then they are separated until almost the end of the story, yet much of Oliver's motivation is his love for Petunia. Petunia isn't quite as bad, but it's still there. I wish there would have been just one chapter added towards the beginning that would have developed their relationship a bit more, maybe have them spend a week together instead of just a day. It would have helped justify what happened between them later.
Still this is a fun read. It has plenty of action and really is quite creative in how the stories mesh together. I also loved seeing Rose, Galen, and Poppy again, finding out what happened to them since the ending of their books, and really closing the series. This is a solid 3.5 stars for me. It was a great read, especially if you like fairytale retellings and are looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon.