Greetings and salutations!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….the online kingdom where BOOKS RULE and we are but mere servants to their beck and call (albeit WILLING servants…^_^).
It’s Children’s Book Week…which I’m certain you’ve heard by now (if not, umm…let me hold that rock for you….just kidding!)…so the focus is on everything from BABY to YOUNG ADULT. So far, I’ve given you a chance to win a bookish prize pack including two of my favorites + swag (see the giveaway hop to enter), teased you with a Young Adult series that makes its mark and makes it high (dark, twisted, but OH-SO-GOOD), and introduced you to a new-ish picture book all about our relationship with dear sweet Mom (AND given you a chance to win a SIGNED copy). Fun, right? Oh, we’re just getting started!
Today we’re stepping out of the picture books for the most part (no worries, I’ll explain) and into the
’s Fiction. Though the title is most certainly original, the initial story within may ring a few bells…especially for those that adore fairy tales (see? That’s where the “for the most part” comes in….) for you see we’re about to step into not one but FOUR of your favorite fairy tales featuring the characters you know and love….AFTER the “happily ever after” was delivered. Oh and those characters? Yeah…let’s just say that they’re not exactly what you’re expecting either. Shall we begin? Oh, I think we MUST or I’ll just keep going and going and going and….today’s book of choice is…. land of Children
From the publisher….
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.
It’s a story of friendship. It’s a story of good triumphing over evil (hopefully). It’s a story of love found, lost, and found again….sorta. It’s a story of fairytale epic-ness with a side of finding the hero (or heroine) within oneself, proving to the world that yes, the deeds of one hero (or heroine) may appear similar on the outside, but the heart that beats within is one of a kind every time.
I had a lot of fun…wait, strike that…A LOT OF FUN (that’s better) with this one. Like most of you, I’m a fan of the fairytale and when I read about the concept of this book, learning about the life’s and times of the Prince’s Charming beyond the infamous tales, thanks to Kellie (<--who ROCKS by the way!) I had a new MUST READ on my wish list. I mean think about it. Have we ever really wondered how the prince in these stories must feel? They are rarely ever mentioned by name in polite company, only alluded to as Prince Charming and while many a girl dreamed of (or dreams of…~whistles~) of finding one of her very own some day, I think I’m safe in saying that it would be a LITTLE weird if that was his actual name. Cute yes…but still, a little odd….
Here we discover that yes, Prince Charming had a given name beyond the general one the bards grouped them under, and yes they are just as perturbed at being “interchangeable” as we are at discovering their real character. No really, you won’t see this one coming! The princes? Let’s just say that of the four of them only one is a “true hero” in the beginning, albeit his start in that life style was kicked off by a staged event unbeknownst to his young self. The princesses? Oh my….now there’s a BIG surprise. I won’t spoil it for you (PROMISE) but there’s a lot more “hero” in them than their other halves…except for one who acts the role of a spoiled b-r-a-t rather well (and much to my surprise!)…which leads you to understand just how those initial fairy tales might have really ended and how the versions we’ve heard are merely shades of what REALLY happened.
Along the way, there are princesses to save (just not how you’re expecting), trolls to conquer, Bandit King’s to dethrone, villains to impress, and witches to avoid at all costs but who eventually, if the story is ever going to reach its peak and come to a close, make an appearance front and center with much fanfare and “fireworks”. The story will keep you guessing with the turn of every page as the princes discover more about themselves (why Prince Duncan who knew you had that much conviction) and each other (oh, Prince Gustav…it’s okay to admit you actually like his as a friend even if he’s your exact opposite) then they ever might have known the princesses (yeah, one should SO not be a princess) that star in each of their stories, and the many shades of grey that exist when it comes to how one’s reputation is interpreted (thanks to Prince Frederic for his gift of gab…and Prince Liam for his determination).
Wanna know something funny? (Well, funny in my mind at least…) I had actually thought at one point that a bit of a switcheroo might be about to take place what with EVERYONE being named Prince Charming, especially when you see how some of the personality match ups between them might have been better if only a different ‘Charming’ had happened along. I mean think about it, the stories themselves would stay the same just the players would change and the only ones the wiser would be those in each kingdom respectively….no changes to the minstrel’s song list would be necessary. It could have worked…but I’m also glad to see things turn out the way that they did showing that whether or not they were the supplier of true love’s kiss or the heroic rescuer journeying from afar, the connections made were real as were the feelings behind them.
Last but not least, there are a few characters that will not get mentioned nearly as much as they should be for the simple fact that they are not the stars of THE story, but they are stars of THIS story in their own right. The dwarfs (no, not dwarves) are DEFINITELY not the sort Snow White was known to mingle with (at least in the version of the story we’ve heard) but they come through a time or two when things look bleakest. Princess Lila, younger sister to Prince Liam, puts her inquiring mind to use and explores her adventurous side whilst trying to keep her brother out of the clutches of….well, a certain UBER-MEAN-AND-SELFISH princess, who shall remain otherwise nameless. She also proves that it’s not the size of the person but the will within them that gets the job done because she certainly has a few obstacles to overcome, including Ruffian the Blue.
Nice name, right? He’s a bounty hunter for lack of a better title, hired by same said unnamed princess to bring back her man…but he’s blue for a reason; partly because the other more intimidating colors were already taken and partly because he’s a bit down in the mouth. I imagine striking fear into the hearts of many like that WOULD be depressing. Finally, but without much fanfare because that’s what she REALLY wanted and we shan’t grant her that request for all the evil deeds she attempted, there’s the witch. Her name was…hmm, I haven’t the foggiest. *checks with the bard* Nope, they don’t seem to remember either…oh well. Guess that notoriety thing never happened for her. (Hehe…okay, so I DO know her name as will you once you read the story but really…she sought infamy, I won’t be one to help her accomplish it.
In short, a GREAT adventure filled read for girls and boys of all ages. There is no questionable content to be worried about as everything is kept clean…except maybe for the end that a character or two meets, but even those are over in a heart burn, I mean heart beat. ^_^ There’s dashing princes (and not so dashing ones), beautiful princesses (and not so beautiful, on the inside, ones), danger, romance, bro-mance and more just waiting to be discovered within. So what ARE you waiting for? Go forthwith to your local bookstore, grab a copy for yourself, take up residence in your favorite reading spot for a grand adventure and discover just what REALLY happened after “happily ever after”.
ARC for review courtesy of Kellie at Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their awesome-sauce filled catalog of reading goodness, feel free to visit them online, like them on Facebook, or follow on Twitter. Their website also holds the key to browsing inside the book before you buy (and believe me, you’ll want a copy to call your own) as well as access to a downloadable activity guide to extend the fun beyond the pages. To discover more about first time author Christopher Healy (…wait, first time? *-* Whoa…can’t wait to see what ELSE he comes up with!), be sure to check out his official website (where you can also see the full cover spread, front AND back featuring all the characters!), like him on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter. This book was released the first week of this month, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf near you.
Until next time…happy reading!