Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George was one of my most anticipated new releases this winter. I think I may have been the first person to check out my library’s copy. Yes, I am a huge fangirl.
I am pleased to report that the final installment in the Princesses of Westfalin trilogy is a solid effort and a nice conclusion to a charming series. It was such a fun read, I got through it in less than 2 days. The writing is wonderful and witty as always.
The book does not work as well as a “stand alone” as the previous two; you need to know at least the events of the first book, Princess of the Midnight Ball. The King Under Stone and his brothers are back to make trouble for the 12 sisters, and they have some help on the outside. It is definitely distinct from the first two books, though. There is a lot more action: abductions, prison breaks, shootings, magic spells. Very exciting! And since the princesses are all grown-up now, there are a few more mature motifs (all still PG).
The book does not hold as strictly to the fairy tale that inspired it, either. I found this a little disappointing, but I can’t hold it against a book simply because it didn’t match my personal vision. Ms. George took more liberty in order to fit the tale together nicely with the others, especially the first. The actual elements of Little Red Riding Hood are confined to a few chapters. She also supplements with other tales, including Robin Hood.
With all that plot, I can’t help but think that the characters suffered a little for it. Petunia, the youngest, is a good protagonist, and she has some great moments of individuality. But at points she just seems a younger version of Poppy, or interchangeable with Pansy, etc. Oliver is nice, but his exploits as a “wolf” feel a little perfunctory. I would have loved a little more banditry, and a little more “bad boy” from Oliver. I could see him having a Han Solo side, but as it is, no matter how honest and brave he is, he still can’t hold a candle to Galen.
Speaking of Galen, he and Rose were definitely one of my favorite parts of the book, and I think fans of the first book will appreciate their moments. Having all the sisters (and their dance partners) back again was actually a little overwhelming. I think a dramatis personae would have been helpful. Poppy, never one to sit on the sidelines, had a few nice moments, but her Christian was barely in the book.
Overall, a great book and I recommend the whole series highly. I’ll dock half a point because I like the first 2 better. 4.5/5 stars