THE MERMAID'S MADNESS
Hines pulls out the serious artillery in this sequel to The Stepsister Scheme. The action is quick paced and engaging, and the three main characters flout all princessy cliches. Though known for his humor, Hines leaves much of that behind as he embraces a darker, more "Hans Christian Andersen" type of fairy-tale telling. A great read.
Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella are faced with a new danger -- an attack by a mermaid princess has left their benefactor and friend, Queen Beatrice, in a coma. The three princesses must use all of their wit, skill and plenty of seasickness-healing tea in their battle to rescue her.
The help of other members of the merfolk royal family is necessary -- but who is the real enemy? (DAW, Oct., 352 pp., $7.99)