Jessica Day George’s sequel to Princess of the Midnight Ball is every bit as good as the original, and in some ways more interesting.

The book successfully juggles two main point-of-view characters, Poppy (the ‘roughest’ of the twelve princesses), and Prince Christian of Danelaw (the setting is a vague Europe-inspired world, seemingly around the Napoleonic era; history seems to have gone differently here…). Both are visiting Breton as eligible princes and princesses are being fostered abroad after the (off-camera) deaths of nine princes in the previous book in the name of international politics.

This feeds into a Cinderella-retelling that is unexpected in direction. The name “Cinderella” never comes up, and there’s no evil step-sisters or step-mother. There are glass slippers, and a magical godmother (or so she claims), and a maid who has a propensity for leaving ashes behind her. Akin to the previous book, the plot revolves around a number of likable characters, who fight against a dangerous enchantment as it ensnares Prince Christian, and a number of bystanders.

There are some problems. The big reveal about the villain is just that: a big expository lump near the end of the book. It makes sense of certain things, but isn’t really foreshadowed, nor does it seem to flow out of the rest of the book. (Also: it really seems like the cost of using lots of magic in this universe is to get turned into a force-of-nature style villain.)

In all, it’s an enjoyable book, another ‘Disney princess’ style tale, and a very enjoyable one, despite the structural problem.