Series: Princess #3
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2012
Book Source: Public library
What a delightful ending to a wonderful trilogy! Though the focus in this book is on youngest sister Petunia, now 16, we get to see all twelve princess again (along with a few of their husbands.) And it soon becomes clear that the threat of Under Stone has been only imperfectly contained by Galen’s knitted chain (Princess of the Midnight Ball). The protective magic is weakening – or worse, someone in the daylight world may be aiding the new King of Under Stone.
As the cover suggests, Princess of the Silver Woods is loosely based on the story of Red Riding Hood – emphasis on the “loosely.” Unlike Princess of the Midnight Ball, which followed the original fairy tale quite closely, or Princess of Glass, which turned the Cinderella story on its head, here the elements of the Red Riding Hood tale seem almost ornamental, lying over the larger, darker tale of the twelve princesses and the court of Under Stone like a gauze overskirt over a sumptuous satin ball gown. I say almost ornamental; without giving too much away, I’ll just admit that well after you think the Red Riding Hood story has been abandoned, several critical elements resurface.
Jessica Day George consistently writes wonderful characters, and this book is no exception. Petunia is a worthy heroine: determined and brave, but not always sure of herself, nor as perceptive as perhaps she ought to be. But my favorite character is actually Oliver, the impoverished young earl-turned-highwayman. He’s honorable, courageous, loyal, responsible, and practical – and bent on protecting Petunia whatever the cause. He’s also endearingly unassuming, and frequently a bit tongue-tied.
What makes Princess of the Silver Woods so strong is the renewed threat from Under Stone, which was only hinted at in Princess of Glass. This ties all three books together and gives the final volume an urgency similar to that of Princess of the Midnight Ball. I had a hard time putting the book down, and devoured it almost in one sitting. Jessica Day George fans will not be disappointed; this is an exciting and eminently satisfactory conclusion to the Princess trilogy.
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