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Princess book sequels reinvent old tales' magic

A little more than a year ago, two Utah authors released books that re-imagined the princess genre. Proving, as this reviewer wrote, "there's much more to being a princess than frilly dresses and tiaras."

Now, those two authors — Jessica Day George and Mette Ivie Harrison — along with "The Frog Princess" author E.D. Baker, are back with much anticipated princess follow-ups.

"PRINCESS OF GLASS," by Jessica Day George, Bloomsbury, $16.99 (young adult) .

George is a popular writer on the young adult circuit. The local author has written a trilogy of adventure books in "Dragon Slippers," "Dragon Flight" and "Dragon Spear." And she is also the author of "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow," a retelling of Norse legends.

But as of late, it's dancing slippers that have become the author's theme of choice. In "Princess of the Midnight Ball," it was 12 sisters who were mysteriously wearing through new pairs of shoes each night. Now, it's an enigmatic young woman who wears slippers of glass of "Princess of Glass."

Princess Poppy, one of the sisters from "Midnight Ball," is taking part in a royal exchange program, hoping to rebuild alliances and friendships ruined by the unfortunate dancing secret that ostracized her homeland.

Poppy misses home, and her welcome to this new land has been a bit frosty at times. Poppy is willing to make the best of things for her kingdom's sake and is learning the finer points of deportment, in spite of things.

When Poppy meets the charming Prince Christian, things start to look up. Or so she thinks. Poppy isn't the only one who likes Christian.

Eleanora, a beautiful servant girl, has her heart set on marrying the prince. Eleanora was once rich but has fallen on hard times. So it comes as a surprise when she arrives at parties with magnificent dresses and slippers. No one knows where these riches are coming from, but Poppy is sure that someone is up to no good.

This adventure is part magic, part mystery and, of course, part fairy tale.

Of all fairy tales, that of Cinderella may be the most re-imagined and re-invented. After a while, it can become repetitive and boring.

Not so with "Princess of Glass." George has continued to explore the magical world she created in "Midnight Ball" with a fresh stand-alone read that youths and adults alike will enjoy. Here, Cinderella is just the jumping off point.

Kudos to George for putting her own excellent stamp on a classic.

"THE PRINCESS AND THE SNOWBIRD," by Mette Ivie Harrison, Harper Teen, $17.99 (young adult)

Author of "Mira, Mirror" and "The Monster in Me," Harrison is likely best known for her princess books — "The Princess and the Hound," "The Princess and the Bear" and most recently, "The Princess and the Snowbird."

The love of the hound and the bear is one for the ages. And that love has spread to their daughter, Liva, for whom the hound and bear gave up their human forms.

In "The Princess and the Snowbird," readers meet Liva, who is heir to all her royal parents' magic. As such, she can transform herself into any animal she wants. She lives in the forest of her parents, where magic runs deep.

Jens also lives in the forest, though he lacks magical abilities — human or otherwise. He is an outcast among his family and his village.

When Liva and Jens unexpectedly meet, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. It seems an unlikely match, but when evil force starts working to rid the land of magic and those who wield it, the two join forces with unexpected results.

Though "The Princess and the Snowbird" is the third book in this series, it does stand on its own. Enough background is provided for readers to understand and enjoy it separately. And enjoy it they will.

This unusual princess story is less about castles and gowns and more about characters and journeys.

Harrison's writing continues to spark the imagination and inspire readers to dream.

"THE WIDE-AWAKE PRINCESS," by E. D. Baker, Bloomsbury, $16.99 (young adult)

This is the story of a not-so-sleepy, ordinary-looking princess. Her name is Annie, and her older sister, Gwen, is the Sleeping Beauty.

When Gwen pricks her finger and sends herself and her entire kingdom to sleep for 100 years, it's up to Annie to set things right.

You see, Annie is immune to magic — no extra beauty, charm, etc. And when that particular spell puts everyone to sleep, Annie is left wide-awake.

Left alone in a castle full of sleeping people, Annie decides it's up to her to find Gwen's true love and have him end all this madness with a kiss.

So, Annie sets off on her quest and is joined by Liam, one of her father's young guards who was out of the kingdom when the spell was cast.

Together, they have one fairy-tale adventure after another as they work to rescue Gwen and, perhaps, Annie, too.

Written by the author of "The Frog Princess" and "Wings: A Fairy Tale," "The Wide-awake Princess" is chalk full of humorous charm that will have readers giggling throughout.

And while the book's cover is somewhat cartoonish, the words inside are anything but. With nods to "The Princess and the Pea," "The Frog Prince" and "Rapunzel," one can't help but fall in love with this inventive romp.

If you go…

Who: Jessica Day George

What: Launch event

When: June 12, 2 p.m.

Where: King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East


Also …

When: June 18, 7 p.m.

Where: West Jordan Barnes & Noble, 7157 Plaza Center DriveWho: Mette Ivie Harrison

What: Book signing

When: June 8, time TBA

Where: Sugarhouse Barnes & Noble, 1104 East 2100 South