“The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes #1)” by Christopher Healy
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy, Fairy Tales
Summary from Goodreads:
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.
I loved how the story deconstructed the fairy tales we’ve grown up on. The author was able to give all of the princes and princesses pretty distinct personalities. Believe me, they aren’t anything like you’d expect. We’ve got the “typical” macho prince (Gustav) but we also got a prince who is quiet and prefers indoor activities (Fredric). I was pleased to see that the princesses also got to be unique. Cinderella was fierce and able to rescue herself and others. Rapunzel was compassionate and wanted to help other people. Briar Rose was pretty terrible all around.
The princes started out quite different but they continued to grow throughout the story. Fredric toughened up and set out to rescue Ella. Gustav realized he does need help occasionally. Like any coming of age story, the princes started to discover who they are and that they are more than just “Prince Charming.”
The story was hilarious and exciting. I know humor in MG books can be a bit awkward but the humor in this book was perfect. It was funny without feeling forced. I was able to enjoy it quite a bit because I had just finished Project: Fairy Tale so I had fairy tales still fresh in my mind. I think readers who aren’t very familiar with fairy tales beyond the very basics will still be able to enjoy the story.
The illustrations are lovely. They definitely added to the humor of the story. Do try to grab a physical copy of the book if you choose to read it.
The bottom line? Hilarious and fun!