I have been a longtime fan of K. M. Shea’s Timeless Fairy Tales series, and I’m always excited when I see a new one appear in the Kindle store. Her books are really interesting, unique takes on classic fairy tales, and this installment is no exception.
Quinn is a loyal soldier of Farset, willing to risk her life on behalf of her country and squad. So, when a fellow soldier volunteers for a dangerous mission, Quinn joins him. Their assignment is to investigate the nightly disappearance of the twelve royal princesses, a mystery none have solved as those who attempt it vanish. But when she follows the girls, Quinn uncovers the truth: the princesses are cursed, and they’re not alone.
Emerys, the sarcastic and brash King of the Elves, has lost all hope. His people have been prisoners in their own forest for years, and night after night an unbreakable curse forces them to dance and celebrate against their will. But everything changes when Quinn saves Emerys’ life and the pair form an unlikely friendship. Together, they just might be able to free the princesses and the elves.
However, those who cursed the elves will do anything to keep them restrained. And if Quinn breaks the spell, she may pay for it with her life.
Will she succeed? Or will Emerys and the elves be lost…forever?
THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES is a fairy tale retelling and the tenth book of the TIMELESS FAIRY TALES series. Filled with magic, unbreakable curses, elves, and witty banter, it can be enjoyed as an individual stand-alone book, but will be most enjoyable if read after other books from the series. If you enjoy tales of strong heroines, sweet romance, and magical adventures, download a sample or buy it today!
I love fairy tales and fairy tale re-tellings, so when I discovered the Timeless Fairy Tales series a long, long time ago, I fell in love right away. I can’t get enough of these unique twists on stories I know and love, and I especially like that these particular stories all happen in the same world and have a common thread: figuring out why evil, darkness, and curses are suddenly infiltrating the entire continent. Like the synopsis says, the books in this series can be read as standalone novels, but you get so much more out of it if you read them all in order.
In this installment, Shea tackles the Twelve Dancing Princesses tale. The bare bones of the original story are here (12 princesses, a curse to dance every night, the king offering a princess’ hand in marriage to the man who can figure out what’s going on & save the princesses), but this is not a repeat of the same story you’ve read before. The princesses aren’t event really main characters in this version. That designation belongs mainly to Quinn and Emerys, and Quinn’s squad, Band Gallant.
Quinn is a fantastic main character. She’s always had a crush on her fellow soldier Roy, but when he volunteers to solve the mystery of the twelve dancing princesses (and crushes her hopes in the process) she and the rest of Band Gallant volunteer to help him. Quinn is selfless without being overly-so, and she puts her squad above all else. Being a soldier matters more to her than almost anything, and she’s very good at her job. She’s basically a knight in shining armor – always has a smile on (even when it’s fake), always willing to help anyone in need, and very competent, cool, and collected.
Right before Quinn, Roy, and Band Gallant embark on their mission, Quinn is riding through the woods when she meets Enchantress Angelique. I believe that Angelique is the one and only character that appears in every single installment of this series, but don’t quote me on that. Angelique is trying to figure out what’s going on with the elves of the Alabaster Forest, who have mysteriously disappeared. Angelique is basically at her wit’s end at this point (because of events throughout the previous nine books), and Quinn senses this and offers to help her with her investigation. Because of Quinn’s compassion and willingness to help Angelique, the enchantress gives her an invisibility cloak to aid in their mission to help the princesses.
These two storylines converge when Quinn and Roy follow the princesses (hiding under the aforementioned cloak) on their first of three investigative nights, and discover that they are spending their evenings dancing with the cursed elves. Following this discovery, Quinn is assigned to patrol the border of the Alabaster Forest and look for any abnormalities. This is where she meets Emerys, who can briefly fool the curse and escape its borders by shape-shifting into animals.
As Quinn an Emerys spend more and more time together, working to unravel the curse, they both begin to realize that they really enjoy each other’s company. Quinn begins think less and less of Roy, and really starts moving on from her longtime crush. The relationship that begins developing between Quinn and Emerys is sweet, based on mutual respect and friendship. I love them together and I was rooting for them from the very beginning.
There are so many plot elements as we dive deeper into this story, and I don’t want to spoil anything for other readers. As Quinn, Emerys, and Band Gallant work to break the curse, a goblin army begins banding together around the Alabaster Forest. The elves are weak from the magic-draining curse, and if it were to break, the goblins could easily overwhelm and destroy them. The curse is linked to The Chosen, the group of rogue mages that has been terrorizing the rest of the continent, and the curse on the elves reveals that they may be strong than previously thought. For readers of the past book in this series, you’ll be interested to know that in this book we get a glimpse at what has happened to Angelique’s mentor, Lord Evariste (for whom she has been searching since the beginning of the series), and the reason why Angelique hates her magic is finally revealed.
All in all, this was a fantastic addition to the series. I loved the main characters, I loved the twist on this classic tale, and I loved how everything was wrapped up in the end. As far as the overarching series storyline, it seems like all the threads are finally coming together, and I’m really interested to see what happens in the next book. If you like fairy tales and re-tellings, this is a series that you don’t want to miss.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses is currently available: Amazon
*Kindle Unlimited subscribers, you can read this book for free.