The Dancing Princess. Yes, just one. Twelve is obviously overkill. Terribly unbalanced too. With twelve princesses, eleven of them are still usually single at the end of the story.
Wherein I ramble about a fairytale and one retelling of it
Hello and welcome. The books are here. Or somewhere at least. Six new retellings of the fairytale Twelve Dancing Princesses are being released this week. Next thing you’ll be saying that’s too much. It’s not going to be a full 72 princess, but that’s still a lot.
It’s amazing though how many different stories a fairytale can inspire. There’s different way of filling in the gaps and everyone has a different perspective. I tried my own take on in last year, but got lost in the plot. My question was this: “Why would these princesses keep dancing night after night when men keep getting killed because it? Do they not care? Is there nothing they can do?
The usual answer is a curse. I can only think of two that didn’t involve some kind of magical compulsion. One was mostly about other things than the fairytale and the other was a contemporary where drugs were involved and someone was very much up to no good. (I don’t remember the details.)
The other way is not to have many people die.
Today’s story is no exception to the curses, though it certainly skirts along the dark side of what the curse causes. But first introductions.
If you’ve been around me long, you know Kendra E. Ardnek. Insomniac (I live in the future, so I know), writer of long portal fantasies and humorous mixed up fairytales. This is not that. The Dancing Princess is more solemn in tone than many of Kendra’s books. It still has a few light moments, but most of the book is either dark or sweet.
Plagued by nightmares for the last few years, Katrine only wanted answers. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a tangled web of melody as she tries to free a cursed king and his brothers. No one deserves existence such as theirs, but dare she risk her very life?
Of course she does. At some point. This is a story about love and determination. In the background there;s themes of power and men and women.
After all my teasing about twelve princesses being too many, I can’t leave out the fact that there’s twelve princes in this one, or to be accurate eleven princes and a king. Yet there’s really not too many characters. There’s just enough of each of the characters. Katrine, someone named Alexi (okay, he’s the king), a villain and a couple of other people who get multiple lines.
And with those characters, pretty quickly I was convinced that the romance was completely natural despite arrangements and short betrothals. I cared about the characters and cared that they cared and didn’t mind at all that the villain got- oops, spoiler, not saying that.
It’s a short book, but not too short. It probably could have been built up more and expanded, but there was no need. Not every story needs three subplots and description of the trees.
So, I liked, you’ll probably like it too. Buy it and I’ll stop rambling and get to the interview part of this post.
Wherein I ask questions
Hi Kendra, welcome again.
The Dancing Princess has a different feel to many of your stories. Was writing it any different?
A bit, yeah? It shares the distinction with The Ankulen of being one of my most pansted novels. I legit showed up to the page with a basic premise “i.e. one princess instead of twelve” and let the story unfold as it wanted to.
That’s impressive. I can kind of see that thinking back over the book, but some of the ideas… It certainly feels like they have something deeper behind them.
Now this might be a bit spoilerish, but I must ask: Where did the idea come from?
The title! See, once upon a time, I was obsessed with fairies, and my main project was actually building an entire fairy world that I was planning to write stories in. And one of the fairies was Aleenia, the story fairy, and she was constantly annoyed by how different the fairy tales that humans know are from the “real” versions. “The Dancing Princess” was one of the “original” pieces of what we know as the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and so it was an idea that sat in the back of my head, percolating. And then I finally started writing it last year and it wound up … a Russian Genderswap. I don’t think Aleenia is very happy with me for the perversion.
I’m happy with it and that’s what matters, right? Don’t listen to the imaginary voices in your head, Kendra. (Unless they’re giving you ideas or helping write books in some way.)
You mention the physical world enough that I know there’s a sky and it is the normal color of blue (at least in the morning), but now I want to know what time of year it is set. (Actually I wanted to ask a slightly silly question, because I was out of ideas.)
I think maybe summer? It’s the social season, whenever the hobnobs get together to show off and see who is available for marriage and what alliances can be made. But it’s also in a Russian-esque setting, so..
I think I’d certainly prefer the summer social season in Russia.
This is only the beginning of the books. There will be more today for you to read than just my review, and there’s more coming tomorrow. Head over to the Tour Page here to find out more. If you are in the US, there is an Instagram challenge with a giveaway. Use the tag #tatteredslipperschallenge to join in or check out what others are doing.
About the Author
Kendra E. Ardnek is the self-proclaimed Arista of Fairy Tales. She lives in the Piney Woods of East Texas with her dragon babies and massive herd of mini-giraffes, and she is still waiting for one of of her fifty nutcrackers to come to life and marry her. When not writing, you can usually find her sitting in a random box, and she’s frequently known to act before she thinks.
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