This companion novel to The Wanderers centers around storytelling princess Lyra and her eleven sisters. All their lives, the twelve princesses have known about the enchanted forest beneath their father’s castle. The forest’s trees have silver, gold, and diamond branches, enough wealth to buy their kingdom many times over. But the enchantment is an evil one, corrupting anyone not strong enough to resist its whispers of wealth at any cost — including their father. The king insists that his daughters have the power to access the forest, but Lyra and her sisters steadily resist. Eventually, however, they do enter the forest and find something unexpected: twelve princes who need the girls’ help to break a curse on their faraway kingdom. But when the king suspects that his daughters have entered the forest without him, he claims the girls themselves are cursed and offers a reward to any champion who can break the “curse.” Will Lyra and her sisters be able to save the princes before the king discovers what they’re up to and puts a stop to it for good?
I liked this book, which is a well-told but not particularly original retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Not every character is well developed — several princesses and their corresponding princes aren’t in the story at all, apart from a brief mention of their names — but Lyra and her prince, Dastan, are pretty three-dimensional. Lyra at first defines herself solely as “the sister who like stories,” but she eventually comes to realize that she is unique in other ways, too. The romance was cute, and I liked that Lyra is torn between her love for Dastan and her desire to be independent. As I mentioned above, this novel is a companion to The Wanderers; if you’ve read that book, you’ll remember Jasper and Julie’s involvement with this story, but you won’t be missing anything if you haven’t read it. I found the writing style of this book a little clumsy and choppy at first, but as I got further into the story, I didn’t notice the prose as much. I would recommend this book to fairytale lovers, especially those who don’t mind reading books geared toward the younger end of the YA spectrum.