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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Review: The Hero's Guide To Storming The Castle by Christopher Healy



The Hero's Guide To Storming The Castle
(The League of Princes #2)
by Christopher Healy
4/30/13
Walden Pond Press
Format: ARC
Source: pub
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Indiebound
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose - to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms. 
But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening - even if no one will ever know it was they who did it. 
Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination - it's all in a day's work for the League of Princes.


Last year, Christopher Healy charmed and delighted readers (especially this reader!) with his spectacular and hilarious middle-grade debut The Hero's Guide To Saving Your Kingdom...well, Healy has done it again with the equally hilarious sequel The Hero's Guide To Storming The Castle. In Storming The Castle, the League of Princes--Princes Liam, Fredric, Duncan, and Gustav--the Princes Charming who saved the day in the first book and finally got some decent credit for it, are back! A year after their first adventure, the four princes have found that their very brief fame is gone and they've scattered to different kingdoms. But when the mean and annoying Briar Rose forces the League to steal a dangerous and powerful object from Deeb Rauber, the four princes, along with Cinderella, Snow White, Briar Rose, Lila (Liam's sister), set out to storm the castle and save the day.

Everything I loved about book one (the humor, charming characters, superb storytelling, dazzling world-building) is not only present in Storming The Castle, but is even better! Healy has concocted and weaved a wildly funny fractured fairytale world, where the stakes are high, the characters are irresistible, and the storytelling simply shines. Like book one, Storming The Castle is a wonderful mix of clever humor, fantastical whimsy, and addicting adventure.

Healy writes with a pitch-perfect middle-grade voice that never stops being captivating and riveting. One of the things I always look for in middle-grade is that special spark that sets incredible middle-grade books apart from good middle-grade books, and this book (and series) sparks like fireworks! I love the magical, medieval, twisted fairytale world Healy has created. Evil witches, grumpy dwarves (never dwarfs), sociable trolls, kiddie thieves, bladejaw eels...this book as it all and then some! And the humor is the best! We're talking giggle inducing silly, snarky, smart funnies.

And you can't have a League of Princes without the princes...those sweet, silly, brave, bumbling, unforgettable princes. I adore this group of princes and they way they interact. They're heroic enough to be exciting, but bumbling enough to be endearing. But don't worry, the female characters are just as awesome! I especially love fearless, snarktastic Lila. And the villains are perfectly, cleverly, stupendously villainous.

The story is all fun twists and turns, but like any good fairytale, Storming The Castle ends with a pretty happy (but open for more adventures) ending.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a laugh-out-loud, unputdownable, epically entertaining sequel that will enchant readers of all ages. I'm very much in love with this series and cannot wait until the next book. If you have a middle-grade reader in your life, or if you're a middle-grade lover, then this is the perfect book and series for you!

MY RATING

Christopher Healy
Christopher Healy has spent nearly a decade immersed in children's pop culture as a freelance reviewer of books, movies, music, toys, and video games. His work has appeared in multiple magazines and websites, and he continues to post reviews to his own blog, KidPop and Beyond (kidpopandbeyond.blogspot.com). 
His first novel, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, is a comedic adventure that follows the exploits of four different Prince Charmings in the aftermath of their not-quite-accurate fairy-tale fame. It will be published on May 1st, 2012, by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins. 
Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children. And he can assure you that everything that appears in his book has been studied and approved by his nine-year-old daughter.

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