This is the third and final book in the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I thought that it was a step away from the previous two that were firmly based on fairy and folk tales. There is a central fairy tale that it seems to be based on, and that is that of Little Red Riding Hood, though this I had guessed due to the cover and Petunia's red cloak. Though the story, or nods to the story, of Little Red Riding Hood is apparent throughout the book it does not seem to be the main plot line.
Unlike Princess of Glass, this one can not really be read as a stand alone book as it refers frequently to characters and events in the previous books and is much more linked to the Prince's of the King Under Stone.
Before picking up this book I had read some reviews saying that the character of Petunia was trying to be Poppy to hard (in the way she had been written). I am happy to say that I didn't think that was the case, there were frequent references to what her older sisters would do, but I'm sure that would be the case of anyone with 11 older sisters!!
Like with the other two novels there is a degree of predictability to the plot, the typical fairy tale ending; good wins, true love prevails, and this should make the tale lighthearted all the way through, though this isn't quite the case! There is evil in the book, there is cruelty and plotting, in just the right balance for this to be a fun, not too heavy read!
I'd also like to make a note on the way the author's writing seems to have matured, there were quite a few instances when Petunia (and some of the other Princesses, particularly Poppy) use words such as 'bastard' and other curse words. I think that in some ways this is good, as it does show the maturing of the characters as we;; as their spirit.
This is definitely a series of books to read if you want to have stories where the female characters work to try and save themselves, and then do save themselves with help (but not reliant on the help of) the male characters.