Friday, November 12, 2021

Thoughts on Curse of the Midnight King

Good morning, everyone! We are almost two weeks into November and NaNoWriMo, and I'm . . . well, behind, even considering that I'm aiming lower than 50K. But it's fine. I still have over two weeks left to fix that. Anyway, today, I'm breaking my hiatus to share about Yakira Goldsberry's Curse of the Midnight King, a dark fairy tale retelling that crosses the Twelve Dancing Princesses with Cinderella. There are preorder goodies and a few days left to claim them, for the record. You know, if you're interested.


Thoughts on Curse of the Midnight King

  1. Cinderella and the Twelve Dancing Princesses is a brilliant combination of fairy tales. I've never seen it before that I recall (except maybe in one of the stories that mash together all the fairy tales), and I honestly wish I'd thought of it first! Not that I would've had time to write it . . . Anyway. The two fairy tales fit together wonderfully, especially with a dash of Hades and Persephone vibes for extra flavor. The element of Faye rushing fron the above-ground ball to the below-ground one, desperately trying to keep from dragging one into the other, is just excellent.
  2. Pathos and the underword are very dark. Which, in general, is what I want it to be — the underworld in most Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings should be dark and beautiful and terrible and filled with gilded danger. This one is much more overt in how dangerous and terrible it is (as opposed to the dancing pavilion in, say, Entwined), but that makes sense since we're coming into it long after the glamour and wonder has worn off for our protagonists. Also, the element of transformation each time Faye enters Pathos's realm? Loved it.
  3. Pathos is a highly stabbable villain. He's just the worst, ok? I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be a bit sympathetic to him because he claims to care for Faye? And maybe he does a little? But it's nothing like real love, and I spent most of the book hoping Faye or someone would just stab him. On a related note, though, I do love the note of Faye being dressed in gold every time she comes  to the underworld. Like, I'm pretty sure Pathos controls that. He decides who's dressed in what color. Which means that he subconsciously recognizes that Faye is a danger to him, that she'll be his undoing. Oh storms he's literally flirting with death. I just realized that in writing this post. Dramatic, stabbable idiot. (He's not an idiot. He's actually reasonably clever, more so than I realized. But in this case . . . he kinda is an idiot.)
  4. It's simultaneously a sister-focused story and not. I recognize that sounds weird. Faye's main motivations throughout this story are her sisters and her need to save them and atone for what she feels she's gotten them into. Which is great! But she's also forbidden from speaking to them or really interacting much with them, so both the deeper sisterly relationships and the characterization of her sisters is a bit . . . lacking . . . for my tastes.
  5. I hate to say it, but I really didn't click with Faye. Not in the sense that I didn't care about what happened to her, but I didn't connect with her in the way I wanted to. She spends most of the book in such a dark headspace — for good reason! Given all she goes through, it would've been strange if her thoughts weren't shadowed. And I know there are people who will connect with her, who will see some of their own struggles in her. I'm just not one of those people.

What do you think of Curse of the Midnight King? What's your favorite take on Cinderella or the Twelve Dancing Princesses? Alternately, what's a fairy tale combination that you love and wish you'd thought of first? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


  1. I really need to get more into fairy tale retellings! I keep hearing about so many intriguing ones, but I always have 5000 other things I need to read. Including finishing The Odyssey, which is full of potential retelling fodder... hmm. I would love to see someone do something with Mulan. I always loved the Disney film as a kid but I only learned recently that it was like many of Disney's properties based on an older tale.

    1. Heh, I feel that! Somehow, no matter how much you read, the TBR list never gets any shorter! And YES. I want to write an Odyssey retelling sometime.

      I think Kendra E. Ardnek is planning a Mulan retelling at some point.

    2. If you ever do write that I will definitely buy it!! :D

      Ooh, I haven't heard of her, I have to look it up :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.