Book provided by Publisher for review
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Hardcover 496 pages
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From Goodreads-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.
There are characters upon characters in this novel! So many that it's really too hard to break it up and tell you about each one. I'll tell you my favorites. Gustav, the Prince Charming from the story of Rapunzel. All he wants to do is clobber somebody. There is no finesse to him. He's got a battle axe and he ain't afraid to use it. Or without it, he'll just jump into the fray. Whichever he feels like. He'd be the large guy on the cover with the blond hair. Oh and he's got a great way with words. Frederic, Cinderella's Prince Charming likes to wear nice clothes. So Gustav calls him "Tassels" and Briar Rose, better known as Sleeping Beauty is also called "Miss Prissy Pants" by Gustav (though I think he might have a secret crush on her).
I also love Liam. He finds out he's a fraud and he is forced to marry Briar Rose, the princess he awakened with a kiss and he's just really having a bad time of it. But, he still manages to pull his bootstraps up and become the leader the League of Princes needs (it should really be League of Princes and Princesses). Not that I'm saying he doesn't make mistakes, he does. Like being jealous of Prince Frederic who is engaged to Cinderella (Ella) who is much more suited to Liam. And having huge holes in his plan to get the treasure, but he's not listening to suggestions on how to fill them. And boy does he want to get out of his marriage to Briar Rose!
The World- Well, it's a fantasyland. There are giants, trolls, gnomes, castles, inhabited and uninhabited. Witches, bandits, enchanted treasures, dragons, all kinds of fantastical creatures you can imagine and magical tears that can heal most any injury. So it's your pretty typical Fairy Tale World.
The Story- In a nutshell Liam is forced to marry Briar Rose to save his friends who have come to rescue him and as usual have bumbled the job. To save them, he must marry her. Briar Rose isn't too fond of Liam, just interested in his treasure room. But when she doesn't find what she wants in his treasure room and finds out it is stolen, she charges Liam and his friends with finding it and retrieving it from the Bandit King, the 10 year old boy who is king of a ruthless army of pirates-Deeb Rauber. (Yes it gets more fantastical than that). Deeb has a warlord from the land of Dar visiting him, the most ferocious fighter ever known and his brought his army to learn and to teach Deeb Rauber's bandits. All at the same time that Liam and Company are going to sneak in for a priceless treasure. And Liam and Company have to try to figure out what Briar Rose is up to, she's planning something and needs the priceless treasure to do it.
Here's my opinion- First this book is almost 500 pages long. That's a lot of reading. I will say that my attention lagged a little in some places. Not because it was boring, but because I was trying to read it in two days and that's just a lot of reading. The romances in this one are a little bigger, but other than Duncan and Snow White, no one is together. There is a whole lot of miscommunication going on or not going on at all. Frederic sees Gustav at Rapunzel's and he leaves not knowing that Gustav is leaving with a Yee Haa! Ella leaves Frederic's after his father kicks her out but then Frederic leaves home too. Liam leaves Briar Rose but he doesn't know where to go. Somehow, I'm betting they all find their way back to the Stumpy Boarhound. Minus Rapunzel. It's just too much for her. I thought the action was great but the sitting around planning was a bit slow and the searching for clues as to what Briar Rose was up to could have been shortened. Also it wasn't quite as funny as the first in the series.
But all in all, it was an enjoyable read and definitely worth me buying my own hardback copy to keep. I can see me reading this to my grand kids one day. (or if I don't have any, I'm hijacking a teacher's class to read it to them!) The characters are funny and stay true to form. Liam makes some major character growth in this one and maybe Briar Rose makes some as well. Frederic does too, standing up to his father. I can't wait to see more of what's to come. I believe Snow White and Duncan probably shouldn't leave the castle again. For the safety of everyone. Especially the dwarves!
There is nary a bad word or compromising situation in the entire book. This book is approved for all reading ages and should be read for all reading ages. Just don't try all 500 pages in one sitting. (Or Two)!