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The School for Good and Evil
Soman Chainani
The Thirteenth Princess - Diane Zahler 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.
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.