Monday, June 04, 2012

Middle Grade Monday-- The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Healy, Christopher. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.
1 May 2012, Walden Pond Press
The kingdom of Harmonia has Frederic, who was brought up to be fearful of everything, but a really snazzy dresser. He danced with Cinderella and she fell in love, but found life in the castle to be profoundly boring. Nearby, there's Gustav, who tried to rescue Rapunzel but is now the laughingstock of his kingdom. Liam woke Sleeping Beauty, but found that Briar Rose has a horrible personality and he really doesn't want to marry her. Duncan is married to Snow White, but they are both a little odd and having trouble adjusting to life together. What do all of these princes have in common? The Bards, who are lazy, refer to all of them as Prince Charming in their songs, which makes their lives more difficult. When Rapunzel's evil witch, Zaubera, kidnaps all of the bards, the princes band together to try to get them back. Ella may also be in danger, since the Bandit King and Ruffian the Blue are at large, but they do their best with their limited princely skills. With help from Liam's sister Lila, and various trolls and dragons, the princes manage to successfully complete their quest, figure out how they should polish their images in their kingdoms, and learn a lot about what it means to be Prince Charming.
Strengths: This was a funny, funny book, with lots of good, snarky twists on classic fairy tales. I especially liked the princesses in this. There have been books about brave princesses before, but I appreciated that this was told from the point of view of the princes who weren't quite sure how to deal with the new age princesses. I picked this up thinking "Great. ANOTHER medieval fantasy book," but was most pleasantly surprised. Fans of Gerald Morris' The Squires Tale or even of Flangan's The Ranger's Apprentice series  might find this amusing.
Weaknesses: Occasionally, I had trouble keeping all of the plot elements and characters straight.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger. The lucky devil is at BEA this week (next year, next year!) but still put up a list of bloggers who frequently have MMGM posts.