In April I read and adored The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney. I only just managed to wait till May to read Mahoney’s second novel The Storyteller and Her Sisters. A re-imagining of my favourite, childhood fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, seemed just what my over-worked brain needed.
The Storyteller and Her Sisters takes us back to the last adventure our heroes encountered in The Wanderers. There is no need to have read the previous book though, because now we look at the story from a different perspective and in more detail.
Twelve princesses are mysteriously wearing out their dancing slippers every night, whilst locked in their bedroom. The king has proclaimed whom ever solves the mystery can choose one of the princesses to be his wife. However fail to solve the mystery after three nights, and off with your head! A charming fairy tale…or is it? What if the princess chosen doesn’t want to marry the champion? Or what if there is an important reason to keep dancing each night? What if the king has a darker, alternative motive? This is the story that The Storyteller and Her Sisters tells.
Our storyteller is in fact Alyra, better known as Lyra by those who matter, the ninth dancing princess. To their father, his court, and the numerous champions though Lyra and her sisters are all the same. Something the princesses encourage as there is safety in numbers. Yet really they have their own names, personalities, tastes, hobbies and unique traits. Likewise the corresponding twelve cursed princes (no there not demons or anything else nasty) are all different too. Together they need to dance for a year and a day to break a cruel curse upon the princes’ kingdom.
I have really been looking forward to reading this and I wasn’t to be disappointed. I thought Mahoney brought the princesses, the princes, the world, and the secret curse to life beautifully. Okay I probably can’t say I got to know every princess and prince as a perfect individual. However I loved getting to know Lyra, Vira the eldest princess, Talya the baby of the group, and Lyra’s closest sister Mina, and their prospective love interests (yes they have a choice!). This story had a slower pace to the previous but I still loved the fairy tale tropes that Mahoney used and sometimes poked a bit of fun at too. It was also lovely to see the heroes from The Wanderers return near the end; especially Tom, the talking cat! It was clever of Mahoney to flip the story this way.
The Storyteller and Her Sisters is another well written and charming adventure. I highly recommend if you enjoy fairy tale re-imaginings. Great read.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read this? What other fairy tale re-imaginings should I try?