The Thirteenth Princess - Diane Zahler, Yvonne Gilbert

The Thirteenth Princess -- Diane Zahler

-- A Retelling Based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses



I love fairy tale retellings and had been looking forward to reading this book despite the fact that I knew it was targeted more towards Middle Grade or Childrens. I've always had fairly bad luck with Middle Grade and Childrens books, with few exceptions and am always a bit wary when it comes to reading books targeted to those age groups. But being a fairy tale retelling, I had hoped I'd at least enjoy it for that much.

I had a hard time getting into The Thirteenth Princess, however, and while the telling was smooth enough and the progression was standard, the story itself had many elements and a lot of underlying messages and ideals that gave me pause. But mainly, it was the simplistic predictability of the entire story that made this a rather boring, monotonous read.

There were also a lot of moments wherein I didn't quite understand the logic of the characters or even the story's direction:

How is it possible for it to be okay that Zita is known as a princess, but continue living the life of a palace servant? If the king were worried about reputation and dignity, wouldn't it look bad for him to have one of his daughters living the life of the hired help? And what of Zita? I get that she's young and she yearns for her father's love and all, but how is she content to be treated like dirt by her own father, whether or not he's a king? And how is it that she still yearns for his love and makes excuses for the way he treats her?

But all of that doesn't really matter as the book was quite short and easy to read. Even some of my frustrations brought about by king's continued irrational behavior towards all of his daughters and Zita doesn't mean anything.

As far as the rating suggests, it's not like this book was terrible or anything. It was really just Okay and while it isn't something I'd recommend for anyone who likes retellings and it isn't the best retelling I've ever read, it also wasn't a bad book either. Just frustratingly tame, juvenile, and fairly boring.