Saturday, April 28, 2012

ARC Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Author: Christopher Healy
Publication: Walden Pond Press (May 1, 2012)

Description: 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.

Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes—a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

My Thoughts: This story was an interesting example of one writer's imaginative version of what comes next after the fairy tales ends with "and they lived happily ever after." The one problem with fairy tale romances is that the hero and heroine don't really get to know each other. For example, Cinderella didn't know that her fairy tale Prince Charming (who is actually Prince Frederic) led a very boring life and, as she told another character, was afraid of dust bunnies. And Briar Rose, when kissed by her prince, turned into a major spoiled brat. Snow White marries her prince who is really an odd and annoying fellow. And Rapunzel's prince didn't really rescue her. The wicked witch let her go in the hopes of getting some positive publicity for herself.

This is the story of four very different princes - Frederic, Gustav, Duncan, and Liam - as they wander around and stumble into a plot to bring down their various kingdoms. Along the way they have some dangerous adventures and learn to depend on each other and learn what their strengths are. I began the story by finding the princes all sort of annoying. Let me quote: "All the princes had their issues -- Frederic was easily intimidated, Liam's ego could stand to be reined in a bit, and Gustav could use some impulse control -- but Duncan was flat out strange. I gradually grew to like them. Their hearts were in the right place as they set off to rescue Ella from the evil witch and free their kingdom's bards from captivity. Along the way they battle a very polite giant, a fire breathing dragon, and a Robber King who happens to be 10-years-old.

But even beyond the princes, I liked Ella who wasn't going to sit around and wait to be rescued and who had a number of adventures of her own. I also liked Liam's little sister Lila who also set off to help her older brother and who was more effective than most of the princes.

I think middle grade fantasy lovers will enjoy this story. It has lots of adventure and lots of middle grade humor.

Favorite Quote:
"Get him how?" Duncan asked. He looked at the sword in his hand. Unsure of what he should do, he tossed the sword at the giant. The sword flipped through the air a couple of times and landed softly on the grass only a few feet away.

"That was the most pathetic thing I've ever seen," said Gustav.

Duncan stepped forward to retrieve his sword, tripped over his belt, hit his head on a rock, and knocked himself out cold.

"I spoke too soon," said Gustav. "That was the most pathetic thing I've ever seen."
I chose this one as part of the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This one was clever and rather amusing. I was suprised at how much I liked it.


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