I was...a bit disappointed by Princess of the Silver Woods. Not to say it wasn't good! Just...not what I expected and not in a good way.
I was just blown away by the other two books in the series: Princess of Glass and Princess of the Midnight Ball, so I had high hopes for this one! But then...it fell flat, and I just didn't love it the way I loved the other two. I'm not sure if it was simply because I haven't read the other two in a while, so my impression faded, or it just wasn't written as well, or what. But there were a few disappointing things, though there were TONS of things I still loved!
The character's (or rather, Oliver and Petunia) personalities irked me a bit. Petunia wasn't as likeable (in my opinion) as Rose or Poppy. She didn't really had her own distinguished personality, but acted more like Poppy, then a little bit of Rose. I think I would've liked it more if Petunia was...less her sisters and more her, although I get that she had to be a strong heroine or we'd be complaining about her damsel-in-distress -ness.
Oliver...well, this is an interesting case. I had a pretty love/hate relationship and this was one of the things I was a bit let down by. I thought Oliver would be fierce or have one of those cold/smug attitudes. Actually, I was hoping for that. It would've fit the Red Riding Hood story and the Robin Hood story as well, in my opinion.
I also felt as if the characters hadn't been very well developed. And while I get it, I mean duh. 12 princesses and their husbands/beaus? But Petunia and Oliver...well, even with my complaints about them, they weren't very well developed, I'm afraid.
The plot was...twisty at times, predictable at others, and a tad redundant. (the redundance being the "Oh! She's one of the Nine Princesses of Rashka (that's the name right)). There were so many things I didn't expect, others I did. I knew something was wrong with the Grand Duchess and her son (it even hints so in the synopsis), but I didn't know what would happen. And that was one of the most surprising things.
And that ending? Definitely the best part of the entire book. It was basically where you were at the edge of your seat, wanting to know what happened, your eyes scanning the page quickly. So the plot definitely earns some points!
The romance was...too insta-lovey for my tastes. So Petunia and Oliver met when Oliver attacks Petunia's carriage, and Petunia holds a gun to his face. And then they fall in love? It was just out of the blue and too sudden.
Not to mention, I kept wanting Petunia to end up with one of the antagonists, her own prince, Kistalin (heh. Probably got the wrong name!). I've always actually liked the princes. ALL OF THEM, except whoever's currently King Under Stone. Because, seriously. Having that title is like a drug. It sucks the life out of you. So while I knew it wasn't going to happen, I kept rooting for Petunia to fall in love with her (literally) prince, even if he was evil. And couldn't go in the sun. And tried to capture her forever and ever.
The world building is always my favorite thing in Jessica Day George's books! It's so vivid and fresh and I loved being back in Under Stone (I have no idea if that's what it's called? I forgot! But I dub thee Under Stone if it isn't already). I love how George can seamlessly weave two very different faery tales into one, and still have it all make sense, in the way that makes you think "OF COURSE!". And I love the worldbuilding and storytelling because the world matches the original's descriptions, just giving the items/places different meanings and the storytelling really just merges two fairy tales and, like I said, pretty much makes you feel stupid for not seeing the connection before!
P.S. I have written this at 1 A.M. so if there are any redundant phrases, confusing sentences, or just weirdness, I'm sorry!