Erin's Reviews > The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
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May 18, 12

bookshelves: favorites, fairy-tales, middle-grade
Read from May 14 to 15, 2012

A wonderful, hilarious, rollicking re-imagining of all the fairy-tales you thought you knew.The Princes Charming: Frederic, Gustav, Liam, and Duncan are the best kinds of heroes, and their stories (along with their unwitting heroines: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose) will delight boys and girls.

So many fairy-tale re-tellings take the stance that Prince Charming is the same guy, and he happened to marry all the princesses. This of course leads to the conclusion that he is less than perfect, and his relationships with our favorite princesses less than true love. Many times Prince Charming ends up being the bad guy--or sometimes just the skeezy guy. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kindgom comes at this dilemma from a different angle: what if the Prince Charming from all the stories was just some name used by the bards and storytellers to refer to wholly different men? Thus enters the princes of this novel, all flawed and yet heroic in their own quirky ways. It's perhaps the best premise for a fairy-tale re-telling I've seen in a long time; because when you put four wayward princes together and send them off to rescue their world, nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

The best part about the heroes of this book is that they are all so real, as opposed to their fairy-tale counterpart Prince Charming. They each have flaws and challenges that they are overcoming in their own lives, but in the end their differences make them the perfect team. And the fact that none of them have been properly recognized for their heroic deeds--Prince Charming always gets the glory--makes them even more motivated to save the day. They are the kind of heroes that you want to read about: funny, brave, terrified, and the kind of man that you would want to be best friends with (or marry).

The princesses of the story were also unique in their own ways. Cinderella is the adventurous one, flying across the kingdoms in search of excitement, and running into our princes at the worst (and funniest) of times. Snow White is an odd duck, but loyal and courageous even if she does wear an inordinate amount of bows. Rapunzel is a bit of a wild card in the story, but an important role nonetheless. Briar Rose takes an interesting turn, and offers up a bit of the villain's role (even though she is not per se evil, just a little spoiled).

The narrative voice throughout is funny and insightful. Bouncing from one prince's head to the next, we get to follow the princes exploits from all of their perspectives, giving you a chance to get to know them all equally. We even get to join the princesses for a while, which is a great treat.

The best part of all is the "happily ever after," because there isn't one. Sure things end for the best, but there is no perfect fix to the princes problems in this world: they have to fix it themselves. So instead of ending on a ride into the sunset, it ends with them plotting their next adventure, and a guide for other hero's to come...

A truly excellent debut, and a great addition to fairy-tale re-tellings.
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Quotes Erin Liked

Christopher Healy
“I'm Liam of Erinthia. I'm here to rescue you ... And You are not Cinderella. You are a tree branch wrapped in a sheet”
Christopher Healy, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Christopher Healy
“Can you believe the man rhymed 'Rumplestiltskin' with 'crumpled napkins'?”
Christopher Healy, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom


Reading Progress

05/15/2012
100.0%

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