435 pages of funny
Have you ever stopped to realize that the “Prince Charming” from Cinderella is not the same prince in Sleeping Beauty, who is neither the same prince in Snow White, nor the same prince in Rapunzel either. There are four distinct princes. Do they really all have the same name? How did this happen? The answer to the first question is simply, “No.” There is no Charming family and no set of Charming Princes. “Charming isn’t a name; it’s an adjective.”
The answer to the second question is a bit more complicated. You see in the time those tales originated from the news of the day was collected and written to be retold by a Bard. Each kingdom had it’s own. They wrote the news and told the story as they understood it and then that was spread throughout the land by the minstrels. It was true that “rhyming” news was remembered far easier and often retold more authentically through time, but rhyming isn’t always easy. It was challenging in the day to get around and collect all perspectives before the news had to get out. I’m sure you can imagine the difficulty…
So Frederic, Gustav, Liam and Duncan all got lumped together as one “Prince Charming.” That’s a bit of a problem. First of all it is annoying to be known far and wide, but …not really because on one know your name. Second of all the stories are not fully accurate or completely flattering. Thirdly, “the happily ever after” thing isn’t really so. One thing leads to another. Eventually the four princes meet in their attempt to rescue Ella (a.k.a. Cinderella) and thwart the plot of the evil witch.
Here’s the part where Duncan, the fourth Prince Charming, joins the group:
“Absolutely,” Duncan Declared with a huge smile. “This was meant to be. I’m coming with you.”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Gustav moaned. “Another one with a cape? And an itty-bitty cape at that!”
“I think it’s rather snazzy,” said Frederic.
“Why, thank you,” said Duncan. “I wanted something that I could swish over my shoulder for dramatic entrances – and yet not get caught in doors.”
“All right, fine,” said Liam. “We can always use another sword. Are you any good with a blade?”
“Ha!” laughed Duncan.
Liam furrowed his brow. “Is that ‘Ha’ as in, ‘How silly of you to ask; everyone knows I’m the best swordsman in the land?” he asked hopefully.
A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is laugh out loud funny from beginning to end. How can four “same name princes” be so completely different? Their personalities from gold fringy things, to burly buff fur-lined armor to do-anything-to-help-anyone-in-need-no-matter-what-the-risk attitude to the propensity for naming anything that moves (along with constant chatter) are garishly grating combination that fits together perfectly. Each prince has been fine as he is on his own, but none of them can succeed in their mission without each other. You’ll have to read to the very end to find out how it all works out…it’s not what you expect and that makes the book great. I’d love to know who your favorite character is and what parts tickle your funny bone as you read. Another great thing about this book is that it is the first – I can’t wait to find out what happens with Deeb, the Bandit King.