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Twelve | Joan Marie Verba | Book Review

Twelve caught my attention on Netgalley because of it’s beautiful cove. Isn’t that cover just gorgeous? The premise underneath the beautiful cover is a retelling of the classic fairytale Twelve Dancing Princesses. Except this time, the focus is primarily ex-soldier Alden.

Alden arrives at a small village seeking calm and solace after being a solider. Once there, he learns about the legend involving the local kingdom. The kingdom has twelve princesses who are kept under lock and key at night. Except somehow each night the princesses leave the castle and when they return their white shoes are dirty from dancing. Throughout the book, bits and pieces are added to this legend and how it effects the town.

As I mentioned, Alden really becomes the focus of the story. He becomes everyone’s best friend in the town willing to help out wherever needed. He claims to have no interest in the legend of the princesses and instead just wants to focus on settling down and finding peace. In some ways, I honestly found Alden too good to be true. Yes, this is a fairytale retelling but, even in fairytales there is usually at least one flawed character. The only thing that could be perceived as a flaw is the fact that Alden might suffer from PTSD and this is why he is always seeking the quiet.

Although there are bits and pieces about the dancing princesses legend throughout, most of the time it is being told through Alden or through his reactions. For someone not invested in the legend he seems pretty invested. I think it would have been nice to actually have the legend fully explained by those experiencing it. You know, the princesses? To me, here was alot of wasted potential there. I would have rather learned more about the princess legend than endless details about Alden’s courtship to local moneychanger Philippa. Regardless of her potential connection to the legend.

For me, Twelve had alot of fluff and very little substance. And once again a female legend is being told completely from a male perspective. I’m just so tired of that, you know? I want more female driven fairytale retellings especially if the premise is entirely female based. For example, what were the female villagers thoughts on the legend? Like, I said, solid premise for a story but, ultimately very underwhelming.

Rating: 2 Stars

**I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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