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The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom Hardcover – May 1, 2012
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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“One of the more clever, hilariously successful incarnations of the current literary rage to rip apart and rewrite fairy tales… The princes in “The Hero’s Guide” may not be charming, but Healy’s romp of a book about them most certainly is.” (Los Angeles Times)
“The premise is indeed charming…a quest that recalls at moments the Musketeers and at others, the Marxes.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Healy’s fast-paced debut is overflowing with suspense, humor, and carefully developed characters. Healy injects age-old characters and fairy tale tropes with a fresh, contemporary sensibility, resulting in a crowd-pleaser with laugh-out-loud lines on nearly every page.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“The fairy-tale world is tongue-in-cheek but fleshed out, creating its own humor rather than relying on pop-culture references. Healy juggles with pitch-perfect accuracy, rendering the princes as goobers with good hearts and individual strengths, keeping them distinct and believable. Inventive and hilarious.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“[A] lively, humorous adventure.” (Wall Street Journal)
“This is the most fun you can have short of rounding up King Arthur’s knights, filling their armor with laughing gas, and driving them to a roller disco.” (Frank Cottrell Boyce, New York Times bestselling author of COSMIC)
From the Back Cover
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.
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The four princes of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty haven't got much to show for their brief splash of stardom. The bards of their respective kingdoms have labelled them all as "Prince Charming" and focused on their lack of heroics. Prince Frederic (Cinderella) was an impressive dancer, sure, but the real focus was on the rest of the story. Liam (Sleeping Beauty) and Duncan (Snow White) had awakened princesses with kisses, but Briar Rose turned out to be a despot and Duncan wasn't settling into married life as well as one would hope. Then there was Gustav (Rapunzel) and Rapunzel had not only saved herself but then she'd healed him with her tears--poor prince Gustav couldn't hold his manly head up after that. This story takes place after that... when the bards of the kingdom have disappeared and the witch from Rapunzel has concocted a wicked plot to finally get her fifteen seconds of fame.
The illustrations and the tone of this were reminiscent of Disney's Tangled--and the illustrations in this were amazing. I wish I'd bought this in hardcover just so I could flip through the book and stare at them. (For those buying the Kindle version, I was impressed at the appearance on the Kindle and though the file size is larger than most non-illustrated books, it's impressively small for how many illustrations there are in this.) I can't believe this is Todd Harris's first published book. His artwork was the ideal complement to the story. It's fun and fanciful and made me laugh out loud. I would love to have this artwork on my daughter's walls. It's gorgeous.
I laughed out loud a lot while reading this. But it's not just all funny bits and odd moments. There was some real character growth throughout this as the princes learned to appreciate each other's strengths and work together. My favorite line was probably this one:
"Look," Liam said, "sometimes being a hero isn't about getting the glory. It's about doing what needs to be done."
For parents: This was ideal for a bedtime story for kids who probably think they're too old for bedtime stories and definitely safe for all readers. No profanity. And violence was similar to what you'd expect from the original fairy tales--well, actually less violent than most of them (Grimm are grim.) And it's a great read for adults too. If you're a big fan of the play "Into the Woods," you'll find this lighter but equally entertaining.
Both the illustrator and author are going on my guaranteed buy list. This was really a fantastic showing from both of them. They matched. Perfectly.
'I was entertained throughout the whole book. All the quirky characteristics of the various princes (and princesses) were amusing. What I enjoyed also was that the princesses are included too. Cinderella is one of the hero(ines), and Briar Rose, a really horrible spoiled brat, who always gets her own way. If not, she's going to throw a TANTRUM! The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a great book for fans of light fairy tale retellings (or fairy tale after-stories.) Fractured fairy tales, really. And it has good illustrations. On the cover from left to right are Briar Rose, Prince Gustav, Cinderella, and Prince Liam. I liked the cover too. You can see all the characters on the front and back. You can read Melissa's review here. (One critical review and one praising review)."
I think I loved this one even more the second time around. It really is a funny book, reminiscent of Bullwinkle and Rocky's fractured fairy tales. Yes, it can be a bit cheesy, but for the most part it's an entertaining and enjoyable read. The characters of the four princes are really funny. The illustrations are amazing, and the plot is light and funny.
Reread in December 2012.