Read The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler Jenna Lamia Online


Zita is not an ordinary servant girl—she's the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita's father banished her to the servants' quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.Then, after Zita's twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worZita is not an ordinary servant girl—she's the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita's father banished her to the servants' quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.Then, after Zita's twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends—Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier—Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot—and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.A classic fairy tale with a bold twist, The Thirteenth Princess tells the unforgettable story of a magical castle, true love, spellbound princesses—and the young girl determined to save them all....

Title : The Thirteenth Princess
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061967672
Format Type : Audiobook
Number of Pages : 6 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Thirteenth Princess Reviews

  • Valerie
    2019-03-21 08:47

    The story of the twelve dancing princesses isn't one of the most popular fairy-tales to be retold (i.e. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty) but definitely isn’t one of the most neglected either. This take on it adds a thirteenth princess which was appealing to me. Zita is also a servant while her sisters are just regular princesses-until the enchantment starts taking its toll on them. The book had the same feel of the Once Upon a Time Series books; the writing style of it anyway. Good for a young audience. The character Zita is nice and caring; doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Having twelve sisters we didn't get to see their personalities all that much. More of the focus is on characters like Cook (and can anyone tell me why Cook doesn't have a real name?), the witch, and the stable boy.The plot moved steadily though there were a few parts where I felt like there was nothing going on, which was a bit frustrating. The ending was predictable but it's a retelling, what can you expect? I am glad I read it. It cheered me up after reading a downer book. However, I read Princess of the Midnight Ball before this one and I enjoyed it more.

  • Allison Tebo
    2019-03-26 09:33

    DNF. Aside from being slow and not being able to connect to a somewhat vague and unrealistic plot, this book contained content that was NOT appropriate for the target range.The young girl knows these details about the palace maids getting "in trouble" and the cook seems intent on giving her a dirty mind by telling her she shouldn't keep meeting a THIRTEEN YEAR OLD BOY. What? Plus, her dad (whom the author was attempting to make a sympathetic character) basically committed marital rape with the MC's mom. There was all a witch and magic involved. Either way, I just wasn't connecting to this story and a lot of rather saccharine characters.

  • Cara
    2019-02-24 09:22

    I have come to realize that I will always read fairy tales. It's what I always reach for when I need a comfort read. They are all almost easy to read and sweep you away with their magic. That's why these stories stand the test of time.People know the story of the twelve dancing princesses, but do they really know the whole story? The answer would be no. Unbeknownest to most people there was a thirteenth princess named Zita. Zita is named after the saint of servants, and unlike her other sisters doesn't get to gleam in the lifestyle of a princess. Though Zita being a servant has made her feel unloved by her father, she does befriend the cute stable boy Breckin, and meets his older brother Mileck who will play in important role in the story. She comes to learn that she is a princess and as she grows closer to her sisters she finds out that there is something ailing her sisters. Finding out the gravity of the situation she sets out with Breckin, Mileck and the help of a benevolent witch to stop whoever is behind the curse upon her sisters.I was a little worried about the length. Most of the time I have gripes about how the novel is not long enough and doesn't give a chance for the characters to develop. Though the development could have been a little better I was mostly satisfied with it, and ended up caring about the characters. It stays true to fairy tale form and ends happily:) If you loved this one read Princess of the Midnight Ball to get another great perspective on this fariy tale.

  • Melanti
    2019-02-28 08:21

    A poorly characterized and poorly plotted retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" told from the point of view of their little thirteenth sister - who was a kitchen maid in her family's castle.Zita is treated more like Cinderella than a princess yet didn't seem to mind - which I find wildly implausible. Her father, who has exiled her to the kitchens, shows signs of loving her every now and again yet somehow never regrets his decision and never invites her back upstairs to live with her sisters. And the sisters never really become anything than an interchangeable blur of characters with names starting with the letter A.Personally, I found all of the character's motivations to be highly unbelievable and the plot was all over the place. Though, I just got through reading a depressing classic, and wanted a light read with a happy ending... I grabbed this as the first fairy tale retelling from the local library that popped up on the screen as available, and in the game of library roulette, the result could have been far worse.Really, it only deserves two stars, but I'll grant it an extra one since I believe this would appeal a lot more to the intended middle grade audience than it does to an adult.

  • Hope
    2019-03-25 05:30

    So, I went to the local Barnes and Noble to use a gift card that I got for Christmas (this was actually quite characteristicallyunlike me to be using a gift card so soon after receival. I'm lazy. And forgetful.) mainly for the purpose to purchase House of Many Ways by Diana Wynn Jones. But of course, who can resist the urge in a big book store to look at every interesting looking book that you pass? I wasn't having much luck in the Young Adult/Teenager section, as it seems almost every book there now is about an "ordinary" girl who gets a supernatural boyfriend who's gorgeous, and constantly reminds her that their superficial romance is forbidden. So I abandoned ship and dropped by the juvenile section. And at the veeeerrry bottom of one the shelves, my eye caught a flash of something sparkly.It was this book.Look at the picture. I mean- it's GORGEOUS! And being me, a weakling around anything pretty, cute, or dealing with princesses, I couldn't beat down the urge to buy it. It's like an ugly beast of an addiction that I have to pretty book covers. Even if I didn't like the book, I would have still been satisfied with the purchase.... just because it's so darn beautiful.It turned out to be not only beautiful, but a pretty good story as well. It's a re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, which, (gasp!) I've actually never heard the full story before, so I don't know how true to it the book is. I do know that, as suggested by the title, the main difference is that instead of twelve princesses, there are thirteen.The story is about a king who wanted only sons, but had thirteen daughters instead. His wife died during childbirth with the last daughter. Enraged and wracked with grief, he banished the daughter to work as a servant in the kitchen. That daughter's name was Zita. Zita did not know about her true heritage until she was seven years old, but after she found out, she constantly longed to be with her sisters. They found ways to communicate secretly, but it was her father's rage that frightened her away from becoming too close to them. One day the twelve older princesses became very ill, and Zita noticed that their shoes looked worn and tattered, and it was then that she began to solve the mystery surrounding her sisters.I think the thing I liked most about the book were the relationships that Zita had with her sisters. I had expected most of them to be nasty, spoiled brats, as that's usually how it goes in this sort of book. But I was surprised to find that each of the twelve sisters were kind girls who all loved their littlest sister who worked in the kitchen all day. I really enjoyed myself reading about how they interacted, because it reminded me of my sisters and how much we enjoy each other's company. It felt real to me, and made me wish I had as many sisters and a giant room that we all shared together, brushing each others' hair, gossiping, and telling stories.The other characters were great, as well. Zita befriends a freckled stable boy named Breckin who becomes her companion in solving the mystery of her sisters' illness, and eventual love interest. Their relationship was very sweet, cute, and well developed. I hate it when a relationship comes out of nowhere with no basis. I don't believe that stuff. Zita's and Breckin's was done the right way. Breckin's brother, who is sort of the prince type guy and Zita's oldest sister's romance was the love-at-first-sight sort, but I think I can excuse it this time.... just because they were so cute! Anyhow, Zita and Breckin meet an old witch who lives hidden in the forest, and becomes their magical consort of sorts. She teaches them how to camoflauge themselves, just by thinking that they are whatever they're standing by. They use it a lot throughout the book, but the whole concept seemed a little far-fetched to me. I just... I kept wondering that if someone was convinced they were something other than who they were (I don't know.... a mentally disturbed man who was convinced he was a duck), if he stood next to a duck, would he disappear? Perhaps I'm being over-analytical, but for whatever reason, that part of the book bothered me.The other bit that I didn't like was the witch. The witch wasn't the most impressive and original character I've ever read about. She was basically my grandma with magical powers. Not that my grandma isn't great! But I'd like to read about someone different. I kept expecting her to do something that would reveal a fascinating part of her.... but she never really did. Not even when she revealed who exactly she was at the end. Which, I suppose it was part of her role in the story- being the grandma lady to everyone , but I felt there could have been more done to her.I only had one other qualm with the book, and I'm going to discuss some spoiler-ish type things, so don't read if it'll ruin the book for you. So it was at that the climax of the book at the end, where we discover that the one who cursed the princesses to dance every night was actually the kind old nurse who has appeared throughout the book. Why? Because she was in love with the king, jealous that he loved another woman, had thirteen kids, and was enraged that paid her no mind when his wife died. Thus she turned her jealousy onto his daughters, hoping that she could comfort him as they slowly withered away, and when they died, have him fall madly in love with her..........Where did this come from???Maybe it's how it happened in the original tale, but the author could have at least foreshadowed it; had some clue that the reader wouldn't catch during the book, but then realize it all at the end. There was nothing! Nothing pointed at the nurse. Was it the intention of the author to make it impossible to guess? It may have, but as a reader, I enjoy figuring things out as I go, or at least, being completely in the dark, but then having that "aha!" moment at the end, because everything now makes sense. This reminded me seriously of Lord of the Flies. You know, when the climax was super intense, and then it was all resolved by the random naval officer who showed up on the beach? There was nothing building up to it- it just.... happened, with no correlation with the plot whatsoever.So that was a bit disappointing. I felt slightly cheated of my intelligence, but it wasn't too bad, because the majority of the book was good. I enjoyed the resolution after the big thing with the Nurse, and it gave me that fuzzy feeling inside. All in all, it was a good fantasy with a main character who was a girly princess at heart, but was still a strong heroine that didn't totally rely on a knight in shining armor to save her. That's a good combination in my eyes. AND it's got a great cover!HopeCheck out my blog!

  • Mel (Daily Prophecy)
    2019-02-28 01:42

    Also here: story is all about Zira, who finds out that she is the thirteenth princess. She is the one who can save her sisters when the princesses all fall ill. Together with Breckin, Babette en Milek, Zira must try to find a way to break the curse before it is too late.Long.Zira is raised in the kitchen by Cook, until she finds out that she is no servant girl. In fact, she is the thirteenth princess and that's a nice suprise for her.Aurelia is the first born child. After that, the King made sure that there was no magic in his Kingdom. The nurse said it could be dangerous for Aurelia. Soon after that, the other sisters arrived: the twin Alanna and Ariadne. Althea, Adena, Asenka. Another twin Amina and Ailima. Akila, Allegra, Asmita and Anisa. The King was done with daughters, he wanted a son. But when his wife dies giving birth to another daughter, he is devastated. He doesn't want the child, so he calls her Zira and she must be raised by the kitchen staff.That is a horrible thing to do. Even in the end, I never felt any sympathy towards the King. He is harsh for his daughters and he blames Zira for something that isn't her fault. What I did like was the fact that Zira and the princesses are so nice to each other. Zira can sleep in their room every sunday. There is a secret passage between the kitchen and their sleeping room. And sometimes a princess leaves a hidden note for Zira, telling her that they miss her.Zira feels wonderful and she even makes a new friend. Breckin, a boy who works in the stables. What a sweetheart! He sounds so cute and I liked how their feelings are developing. It's not that the author speaks about never ending love and passion - keep in mind that they are twelve - but it's real. It's the kind of feeling everybody had when you were around that age. Together they find out that there is still a witch in their Kingdom. Her name is Babette and it's a nice old woman. She always bakes cookies and other tasty stuff. Jummy! She comes in handy when the trouble is coming:Something is terribly wrong. Her sisters are becoming very sick. They are tired all the time; they can't get out of bed anymore. Zira discovers that they are cursed: they must dance every night by going down in the dumbwaiter (the same spot Zira uses every sunday) under the lake. They must dance non-stop and that's why they are so tired. Zira must find a way to break the curse before it is too late. But how? And who is behind the curse?Oh, how I loved this twist on the original story! It really sticks to the story, but I love the addition of another sister. Zira is such a fun character! She is very nice, but stubborn at the same time. She knows what she wants and she is brave. I like the fact that, even when she finds out that she is a princess, she stays the same.

  • Kailey (BooksforMKs)
    2019-03-17 08:31

    Zita is the thirteenth daughter of a king who only wanted sons, and when her mother dies during childbirth, the king banishes Zita to be raised as a servant in the castle. Zita steals little moments with her twelve sisters, but must sneak around the castle to keep it a secret, terrified of her father's anger. When the twelve princesses fall ill and their shoes are worn through every morning, only Zita knows the secrets ways to sneak into their bedrooms and watch where they go at night. The princesses are trapped in an evil enchantment that forces them to dance until dawn, but Zita can't find a prince who is willing to save them!I loved this book from start to finish! Every chapter is wonderful!Zita is a fantastic main character, and I was pulled along with all her emotional family experiences. She longs for her father's love, and there are so many ups and downs on that journey. She tries to please him, she thinks maybe he notices her, then she does something to make him angry, and all her hopes are dashed. She just wants to belong and feel safe in her own family, and it's heartbreaking and beautiful to read about.I love the magic! I was in complete suspense the whole time about the nature of the enchantment, and who cast it, and how Zita could possibly break the spell. The plot really moves along with not one boring moment.I loved the little bit of romance in this book, sweet and innocent and delightful, with ordinary fellows turned into dashing heroes, and little stolen glances and blushing remarks.Excellent writing, complex main characters and interesting supporting characters, an energetic plot, and magic bursting out all over everywhere! I love fairy tale retellings!

  • nicole
    2019-03-15 02:35

    I love this book with a passion and fervor that maybe only a book read during a cold could provide. I've spent the past four hours curled up under a pashmina, utterly charmed by this fairy tale. I was a little hesitant to read this so early in my Cybils work, since the cover has more sparkles on it than a Blingee. Seriously, this is one of the poorest covers I've come across this year. It doesn't do the middle grade market any justice by going for a cartoony effect and it doesn't match Zahler's writing style at all. The story is a true underdog princess story, in the fashion of The Ordinary Princess, and deserves a marketing package in that certain understated style. The inside illustrations for the title page, depicting the 12 princesses late night dance sessions, are far more compelling than this initial visual.Zita is a well-written character, dealing with the separation from her family, her father's anger, her growing feelings for Breckin (dibs on baby name rights should my child come out freckled) and the slow dissolution of her sisters' health with a no-nonsense attitude. She's not perfect, or perfectly unperfect either. She bends over backwards for her jerk of a dad and is constantly taking risks for those she loves. It's really hard not to love her in return. I'm going to make a bold statement and give this one a spot on my working shortlist, alongside The Search for WondLa. Secret Fact #135: I adore underdog princess stories.

  • Eva Mitnick
    2019-03-08 04:44

    Most people who have enjoyed fairy tale-based fantasies by Gail Carson Levine, Donna Jo Napoli, and others will find this a pleasant and well-written diversion. Although not as funny as Levine's tales or as psychologically insightful as Napoli's, there is plenty of substance here. Zita is as plucky a heroine as one could want, yet her father's failure to love her fills her with both puzzlement and despair. The twelve princesses remain unsurprisingly interchangeable, for the most part, but their father is more complex. Elements of other fairy tales are intriguingly wound into the story, adding both freshness and depth.The tale isn't totally satisfying. Although we learn the motive behind the enchantment of the princesses, the details aren't explained. Why the silver and diamond trees? Why the elaborate food at the nightly enchanted balls? Yes, these are part of the traditional tale - but their presence in this tale remains an enigma. The breaking of the enchantment is quite rushed, and in fact all the magical bits are a bit too easy. For example, Zita and Breckin instantly master the magical art of blending so perfectly into their surroundings as to become invisible - this comes in very handy, of course.Still, Zita's Cinderella-like story and her able narration of her tale will keep most readers content until the happy ending. For grades 4 to 7.

  • Josiphine/Tessa
    2019-03-19 06:41

    3.5This was a sweet fairy-tale retelling, but there's not a lot of depth. I love Zahler's writing, but would have liked a little more character development for everyone. I think that kids in this age-range will really enjoy it because it's enjoyable and quick to read but it had its flaws. Wildwood Dancing is a better version of "The 12 Dancing Princesses" in my opinion.

  • The Winter Rose
    2019-03-09 07:21

    I love fairy tales and retellings of fairy tales, so when I saw this one - a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses with a beautiful cover, I immediately picked it up.Sadly, I was rather disappointed in the content. The techincal level of the writing is decent, but the main problem revolves around the story itself. It was very predictable and bland. There were surface elements that made the story somewhat new, but at heart it's tone was like reading the exact same story out of the fairy tale conpendium I have. It read like a fairy tale. But not in a good way because it didn't add to this story. It didn't make it feel fresh and new, it made it feel tired and old. Furthermore the ending fell very short of satisfactory. **SPOILER ALERT**In a revelation scene at the end, we learn that the princesses Nurse was the witch who had enchanted them. But there was absolutely no foreshadowing of this. It's just out of the blue. It felt like a very weak and amateur end. It was like having a bad guy pop out, twirl his mustach and cackle about his elaborate plan. It was just that poorly executed.In the end, I can't say I am impressed with this book. Poorly executed all around. If you are looking for a good retelling of the tale I highly reccomend "Princess of the Midnight Ball" by Jessica Day George which does an execellent job of capturing the tone and nature of the fairy tale while making it feel both new and familar.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-05 01:18

    This story does not seem like its title. It’s not all about fairy god mother, or seven dwarfs. It’s a story that includes magic, weird dreams, and a witch. There are also Kings, Queens, Princesses, And Prince’s. The setting takes place in a royal palace, and a wonderful kingdom. The King of this wonderful Kingdom marries a wonderful Queen. The Queens name is Amara. The King loves her so much that he decides to name all there children with the first initial “A.” When the 12th princess comes, the King badly wants a young boy. The King and Queen have one more child. Unfortunately, the Queen dies. When the King hears that the 13th daughter is still alive, he doesn't want her. He decides to name her Zita, because she is not worthy. He also decides to send her down to the servant’s area and make her a cook. Suddenly when Zita turns 12, all her sisters turn mysteriously ill. With the help of her friends; the switch, the stable boy, and a solider, can Zita save her sisters. Most important though, can she win back her father’s love? I rated this book 4 stars because it has a lot of adventure and mixed up emotions. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy adventure stories, heroes and a bit of magic too. There is also a bit of humor and suspense. The suspense doesn't make your book not go down. The suspense isn't that huge. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think you would too.

  • Ryan
    2019-03-20 07:33

    I love "novelized" fairy tales, written from an alternative perspective. This was a good effort at retelling the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Zita is the 13th child, banished to the servants quarters after queen dies giving birth to her. The king had been deeply in love and happy with his queen until she started producing only girls. After 12, he was done with her and then an experience with a neighboring monarch - one with four sons - prompts him to invade his wife's chambers, demanding a son. The implications are that he has lost his mind with frustration and then grief at his wife's death. Zita grows up healthy, happy and fairly well-balanced, surrounded by and apparently loved by the servants. When she asks where her mother is, she is told that she is actually a princess and moves along quite happily knowing now that she is part of a bigger family. That she is part of a bigger family who acknowledges her existence but makes no move to return her to their world, that she is content to be a servant, stealing away to hang out for girl's night with her sisters, that she shows no real resentment, anger or anguish over being abandoned...not really plausible. It all ends in a happily ever after fashion but all the opportunities for exploring the world of this 13th child were missed.

  • Kirsten
    2019-03-21 04:31

    This book is supposedly written for 8-12 year-olds, but I found it highly enjoyable and some themes like spurned love, lost love, and grappling for love are quite mature for an 8 year old. The book is based on the Grimm Fairytale of the 12 Dancing Princesses -- twelve sisters who dance every night in an enchanted realm. That much is true in the story too, but the author adds a lot more to the story by adding a 13th sister who is banished to the servant's quarters because of her mother the Queen's death and a sorrowful, grieving father. The story focuses on her which makes it fresh and different from many fairytale retellings, and the mystery surrounding her sisters is still quite mysterious even if you know the fairytale -- the what is no secret if you've even heard of the Dancing 12, but the why and who behind it are quite the surprise and well-worth the read. It is written well and does not feel like a children's book at all in its reading. I'd say more appropriate for 10-13 actually. Anyway, very enjoyable and starting me on my thought that I should read more teen and older children's chapter books so I can tutor better and recommend more for ESL students.

  • Ashley
    2019-03-21 08:18

    This book was fun. It was a very different way to look at the story of The 12 Dancing Princesses, which has been my favorite fairy tale for as long as I can remember. I do really like that the girl was the hero of the story here. I thought most of the plot was well developed and moved well. I was really interested in Zita's life, and what happened between her and her sisters. There were some portions of the plot that felt a little rushed, but in a way, this fairy tale always does. No matter which version of the tale you read, the ending of the enchantment is generally rather abrupt. I think that's just part of the story. The only real complaint I have with the story is that Zita rarely felt like a 12 year old to me. Most of the time she felt older. The only time she seemed anywhere near 12 was when wishing for her sisters, and wanting her father to love her. I felt that the author picked 12 so that her older sisters can still be young, but almost old enough to have a soft love interest. Most of the time, I just ignored that she was only 12, because it made the story more believable.

  • The Captain
    2019-03-03 08:18

    Ahoy there me mateys! I am a fan of fairytale retellings and so when I saw the title and this cover, I was intrigued. It is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses and I love that story. The highlights of this story were the main character, Zita and her friend Breckin, the stableboy. I liked how a 13th princess was added to the story and how she had to save the day. With the help of her friends of course.The plot does meander a bit and I knew the evil character practically at once so that hampered me enjoyment a little. However Zita is lively and smart and loving. The 12 princesses are basically interchangeable and hard to tell apart. But getting more of the story from the perspective of the working characters of the kingdom like the Cook, soldiers, and such was a nice twist. I also liked the juxtaposition of Zita the servant and Zita the princess.Altogether this book is worth a read but I do not believe I would add it to me favorites shelf to be reread.To see me other reviews, check out https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...

  • Melodee
    2019-03-20 06:31

    This is exactly the type of book I've been looking for to recommend to my 10 year old daughter!! Well written, with just enough puzzle and just enough clues for her age to figure out. A good tale of making friends and overcoming your own fears, and a fresh looki at an old fairy tale to boot! What I really liked, is that even though it does end with a "Happily Ever After" it wasn't PERFECT. There is still a bit of heartache and a good reminder that life isn't fair, and nothing wraps up perfectly, but we can still find happiness. It makes it seem a little bit realistic. Which is silly to say about a fairy tale, but, don't we all secretly wish fairy tales were true? Otherwise, why would we keep reading and telling them? This book was really well done for it's target audience. It would make a fun Mother/daughter read aloud.

  • Lisa the Librarian
    2019-03-06 07:34

    This is my favorite expanded retelling of a classic fairy tale since Ella Enchanted. Very well done and enchanting story based on a bit lesser know taleThe Twelve Dancing Princesses.The storyteller is Zita, the thirteenth and yongest sister of the famed dancers. She has a clear and honest voice. Zita is a very likeable character. She handles her life challenges with dignity, grace and courage. With lots of plot twists this is a well told story that keeps the pages turning.The copy I read was a library book, but this is no my "to own" list.

  • JoAnna Smedley Vea
    2019-03-13 04:40

    This was a great twist on the 12 Dancing Princesses fairy tale. Zita, the unexpected and unwanted 13th daughter of the king and queen, finds out her name means "seeker," which she lives up to in this book. She seeks out her true parentage, which she didn't know for the first several years of her life. She also seeks out and finds the love of her sisters, then seeks a way to save her sisters from the curse of being forced to dance all night, every night. Mingled with all this there is a little romance, too. The Thirteenth Princess is a wonderful story. I can actually picture it being made into a movie.

  • Jessika
    2019-03-15 06:24

    Fairytales are my absolute favorite, and my top fairytale has always been "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." The Thirteen Princess was an original, albeit quaint, take on the original tale. I enjoyed this book well enough, and I can definitely picture reading this with my daughter if I have one in the future. While it may not be the most riveting read for adults, I know I would have loved this book as I was learning to read chapter books. This didn't have the best character development or plot, but really, it read like a classic fairytale--happy ending and all. I would definitely recommend this one for younger readers...adults may or may not enjoy this middle grade read.

  • Elevetha
    2019-03-19 01:43

    A retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. What if there were 13 not 12 princesses? What if her mother died at childbirth, having the thirteenth princess and the king was so devastated he never wanted to see her. What if one of them grew up as a servant watching her sisters from the kitchen? What she found out and realized she had to help save the family she never knew she had? I loved how the writing flowed. I loved how her 12 sisters took her in as their sister right away and were so sweet to her. Good.

  • Melissa
    2019-03-04 07:24

    I just love a good, sweet, clean fairy tale retelling. This was the 12 dancing princesses retold with a couple other elements of other fairy tales. What I loved most about this story was the main character Zita. She was sweet and strong and carried the story well. I loved the description of the castle and the mold and dampness. This was a fun quick read for girls 10 and up.Re-read 7-2014 Read to my girls 16 to 5. The 5 year old had a hard time and the 8 year old needed some explanation but overall they all loved it:}

  • Clare Cannon
    2019-03-20 03:39

    A fairytale retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the perspective of little Zita, the thirteenth princess, who has been banished to the kitchen and lives as a servant. A nice enough story with no real surprises, though there are a couple of inappropriate allusions that will hopefully go unnoticed by most young readers.

  • Sarah TheAromaofBooks
    2019-03-25 07:44

    I love fairy tale retellings. Even when I know, deep down, that they’re going to be terrible, I still can’t resist them. It’s like eating that last cookie that you know is going to make you feel sick but they are THE BEST COOKIES EVER so how can you resist? This was one of those books. My rarely-wrong sixth-sense that tells me whether or not a book is going to be dreadful was urging me to RUN, but I have really enjoyed the sudden spurt of retellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and how could I really resist?First off, let me clarify that this is a book for younger readers (I think it’s officially in the 9-12 range; the young heroine was 12. However, while the writing was definitely manageable for a reader at that level, I don’t think that I would recommend the story for those who are younger – Zita seems overly interested in kissing and what it is like to by physically close to boys (and specifically one boy in the story), and I really don’t appreciate stories that encourage that kind of thing in such young girls.(And yes, I know that back in the day everyone got married when they were 13 etc etc etc BUT this is a FAIRY TALE, not a historically accurate novel. If it was historically accurate, well NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, much less letting a princess’s love interest be a stable hand. Point being, if you’re writing books for pre-teens, I don’t think that you should be reassuring them that going about kissing boys is what they should be doing. This book would have worked even better if either Zita had been a bit older or the whole kissing/having the maids say that it’s important to know “when to stop” had just simply not been in the story AT ALL.)Anyway, the basic premise of the story is that the king got married and had a wife he really loved except she kept having daughters and she had twelve daughters and it really soured their whole marriage and things got really weird and the king went kind of insane except no one seemed bothered by his actions even though they were pretty cruel and irrational and basically the book doesn’t straight-up say it because it’s for preteens but you are definitely given the impression that he got drunk and more or less raped his wife after they were visited by some neighboring king who had sons because our king was reminded of how upset he was about not having a son (even though the story goes out of the way to say that the oldest daughter is going to inherit the throne and that her father would never dream of letting the throne pass on to someone else so… what’s the big deal about the son then? Just one of the many things that didn’t hang together)…. um where was I? Oh yes, he impregnates his poor, exhausted, abused, mistreated, misaligned wife yet again and then has the nerve to get super upset when she has another daughter. First off, who the heck’s fault is it when someone has a girl instead of a boy? (The male, actually… he’s the one who contributes that particular gene…) And secondly, not like you have a super awesome track record here: You already have TWELVE DAUGHTERS.So the king goes into this fit of rage (and the queen dies from childbirth complications and is probably glad for the escape from someone who apparently only loved her as a potential son-bearer) and decides that this youngest daughter is going to be brought up as a servant.Wait, what?So yes, Zita is raised in the kitchens except it’s no secret that she’s a princess, so the whole thing is stupid, because the cook doesn’t want her hanging out with a stable boy because she’s a princess, but she’s expected to help cook everyone’s food? At first, she’s not allowed to see her sisters, but then when she finds out that she’s a princess, her sisters are all super excited and she starts sneaking out to see them? The whole thing was just dumb. It was a concept that could have worked, but it just felt like the author was too lazy to pull things together, almost like she purposely wrote a preteen book, hoping that 10-year-olds wouldn’t be able to see through all her plot holes. (And I don’t expect tons of explanation and details about the government or whatever, but a story, no matter how simple or involved, should at least MAKE SENSE.)The the author tried to make the rest of the sisters a little more relatable (apparently that isn’t a word? Well it should be) by giving them all names and trying to give them little quirks and whatnot, except all of their names started with an A (in an attempt to make Zita’s name more emphatically different), so it just got super confusing.And I’m really not even going to touch on the actually story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, the part where they actually start dancing. Suffice to say that it made just as little sense as the rest of the book. The villain came out of absolutely no where, no warning, no hints, and actually absolutely no point. Even after I found out who it was, I was just confused. She tried to explain, but was really unable to come up with any plausible reason as to why this particular person should have been the villain.Whatever. The whole book was pretty dreadful. I just get super frustrated when someone has an intriguing idea and then are too (I don’t know what… lazy? Illogical? Apathetic?) to make it work.

  • Ashlee Willis
    2019-03-11 01:47

    A very enchanting retelling of the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Zahler's style is simple and refreshing. I love the angle she gives the story with the unknown 13th princess narrating the tale of her older sisters. Great read for anyone who loves fairytales!

  • Micaela Muldoon
    2019-02-24 03:23

    Zahler created a sweet cast of characters, including a few new additions to the original tale. Overall, though, it is a bit slow going, and the relationships aren't as developed as the could have been had the book been given many more pages.

  • Maybeline Tay
    2019-02-24 07:44

    An interesting re telling of the 12 dancing princesses. This version includes a thirteenth princess and lots of magic.

  • Josh Newhouse
    2019-02-28 07:45

    Cute 3.5 stars reselling of the old fairytale, that was pleasant if a trifle, but relegated the title character too often to an observer of the action.

  • Beatriz Hernandez
    2019-03-20 09:39


  • Shani Soloff
    2019-02-23 01:17

    excellent YA novel, intriguing and riveting. did not want to put it down start to finish, i was completely captivated by the tale.