Published: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Listening Library
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours 50 min
My Rating: DNF
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
I initially debated (for like 10 minutes) whether or not to write up a review of this book since I DNF’d it. I had picked up the audiobook after seeing so many good reviews and I had a long car trip ahead of me that day. What better way to dig into a good book, right? WRONG. I hated this book from the first chapter. As I said, I was stuck in the car for at least 4 hours that day and needed something to make it bearable so I stuck it out.
This is a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses which is a German fairytale published in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I wasn’t familiar with the story at all, but I liked the idea alright but this book just so did not work for me. It had ups and downs and I didn’t hate all of it. I initially hated it, but I started to get into the story a bit more but ultimately it took a downturn once again and I decided to call it quits at the end of the day.
My primary issues were the narration and not connecting with the characters. The narrator, Emily Lawrence, lent a whiny tone to the main character that I couldn’t stand. It was quite off-putting and I hoped it would either improve or I’d get used to it. Soooo not the case. I also never felt anything at all for the characters, which is a shame since this is basically a tragedy. It’s a family of twelve sisters (plus dad and step-mother) and as the book begins, four of the sisters have died. You’d think with this being fairly tragic I’d feel some sort of emotion other than annoyance. I ended up DNFing this when they traveled through a magical portal to a ball, where they could dance all night without anyone knowing the stigma that surrounds this “cursed” family.
I just wasn’t impressed with this and it didn’t work for me. Objectively, I can see why this has garnered the praise and high ratings that I see everywhere however I’m glad I put it down when I did. There’s no sense in reading things you don’t enjoy or appreciate!