Imaginative, intriguing and spirited...In this impressive debut, the author artfully weaves humor, suspense, magic and myth into an intricate plot.--Kirkus Reviews Haskell's first novel offers a well-paced fantasy with an involving first-person narrative.--Booklist Imaginative, intriguing and spirited In this impressive debut, the author artfully weaves humor, suspense, magic and myth into an intricate plot.--Kirkus Reviews" Haskell s first novel offers a well-paced fantasy with an involving first-person narrative.--Booklist" With a good sense of humor, an able and empowered protagonist, and a highly original take on this tale, Haskell's story gives readers much to enjoy.--Publishers Weekly [An] intriguing mix of fairy tale, Romanian folklore, and classic mythology...readers will likely be as anxious to return to the Underworld as Reveka.--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Gr 5-8-By layering the exoticism of Romanian folklore onto her novelization of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," Haskell sets this expansion of the story apart from others in a popular genre. Creatures such as the zmeu, a dragon that can assume human form, and the capcaun, a dog-headed ogre, as well as information about the failures and successes of medieval herbalists can be found within this unsettling tale. The curiosity and tenacity of 13-year-old Reveka, an apprentice herbalist at the castle of Prince Vasile, drive the narrative forward. She is determined to discover the secret of the curse laid upon the 12 princesses. At first she only wants the reward promised to anyone breaking the curse, but soon she becomes emotionally invested in saving the lives of the others who've tried to solve the mystery and now lie in near-death slumber in a tower of the castle. Her quest involves her in political intrigue, a Persephone-like trip to the Underworld, and more than one romantic entanglement. Haskell leaves many details murky-perhaps necessarily when so much magical enchantment is involved-but the overall effect is engrossing.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.