Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

16248123Title: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle

Author: Christopher Healy

Publishing Information: April 30 2013, by Walden Pond Press

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Humor

Series information: Book two The League of Princes

Format: Hardcover, 496 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher

Recommended For: Fans middle grade and fairy tale lovers of all ages

Alas, such fame and recognition only lasts 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.

One would assume that after saving the bards of the land, the Princes Charming would get some glorious fame. Unfortunately, as we learned in book one of The League of Princes, the bards don’t always get it right. Instead, Frederick and Ella are back to their boring day to day activities, Gustav is still living in the shadow of his older brothers, and Liam is still hiding from his bridezilla. Unfortunately for Liam, Briar Rose is no dummy and it doesn’t take long before she hatches a plan to steal her future husband and in turn, force him to marry her. One would assume that the league (and Ella, of course) would do their best to steal Liam back, but they are thwarted and get imprisoned by Briar, and therefore become stuck helping her steal back a magical sword from the child king, Deeb Rauber. Thus begins the tale of how the League of Princes (and Ella, and then later, Lila) embark on a journey to storm the castle.

I have to say, if The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom focused mainly on the Princes Charming, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle was very much led by the villains, and I’m not complaining! We see much more from the villains in this sequel and this reader is overjoyed by the complexity of the characters found in Storming the Castle, you guys know I love me some layered characters! Deeb Rauber is back again and he is just as childish and ruthless as he was in the first installment of the series. His character reminds the reader that as we grow, many of us lose our imagination that would enable us to make a torture chamber equipped with a spitball moistener. Briar Rose is just as prickly as she was in book one, but the reader is able to see a different side to her, one that makes your head tilt a bit and wonder if there is more to the spoiled brat than meets the eye. I was actually ecstatic to find that she was included in so many of the shenanigans that went on throughout the novel. My favorite, “villain,” (though he will argue that Bounty Hunting is a legitimate profession) was definitely Ruffian the Blue. I was really unsure of his motives at moments throughout the novel, but I found that every time he was on the page that he stole my heart a little. Perhaps it was the way he helped save Lila, or more probable, the way he argued his absolute need for his cowl.

Briar rubbed the fabric of Ruffian’s cowl between her thumb and forefinger. “Why aren’t you wearing a cloak? I wanted a henchman draped in a mysterious cloak.”
“How could the name of the garment possibly make a difference?” Ruffian asked.
“It sounds scarier,” Briar said. “‘Cowl’ is the least terrifying word I’ve ever heard.”
“Oh, I disagree,” Duncan added. “It makes me think of cow-owls. And those are horrifying. MOO-WHO! MOO-WHO!”

Other fantastic characters that had a bit more limelight were Snow White, Rapunzel, and Lila. You may remember that one thing I had hoped from this novel was that Mr. Healy would provide us with some more Rapunzel, and I am so glad to say that he didn’t disappoint. Rapunzel was as sweet and helpful as ever, and Snow White was adorably naive and loving, especially when sharing a scene with her just as lovable husband, Duncan. Lila, on the other hand, was daring, adventurous, and full of spirit, she was really like a younger, and equally amazing version of Ella. In few words, I loved her. The Princes Charming all had their own issues to handle and it was wonderful to watch as they grew and worked on themselves through the novel. I was very happy with the growth we saw in Gustav and found him particularly charming in a way that I somehow missed in the first book. One thing I can say for sure is that each of the Princes Charming holds their own in their own way and though they each carry their own unique baggage qualities, they all come together to form one spectacular group.

No one will be surprised to hear that I adored this novel, I was surprised at how Christopher Healy managed to again make me feel such a range of emotions, the most of which made me laugh out loud while reading. I won’t say that I was dissatisfied with the ending, rather that I had hoped for things to be tied up a bit differently. I can only assume that Mr. Healy plans to extend this series and eventually give the readers what they need in the form of a big ‘ol wedding. No, I won’t tell you who I’m rooting for! In short, everyone should read this series, I find it hard to not fall to my knees and thank the author for again delivering a book that made me feel like a kid again!

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11 thoughts on “Review: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

  1. “The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle was very much led by the villains, and I’m not complaining!” Haha you love the villains!!! But YAY I’m glad you loved it! I know how much you were looking forward to this one 🙂 🙂

    • HAHA I know I am obsessed with the villains. Like…EVERY time. It was so fun, you should try this one if you are wary of MG novels!

  2. Lalalalalala didn’t read your review so I wouldn’t get any spoilers because I want to read these books oh so much and I haven’t! 🙂

  3. Right?! I told you that Gustav was my favorite!! He got much more limelight in this one, I love him so much. Love Ruffian and Deeb as well, the villains in this series are so great. I also was happy for more Rapunzel, and think it’s great that Healy is giving voice to the ambiguous princes while still having really strong female characters and unpredictable relationships. So happy you enjoyed this one so much, Alyssa!

    • I think what I love the most is how the characters all get equal limelight. If you look at both books together it’s really interesting and awesome to see how we see a fair amount of each character, princes, princesses, and villains! I loved it!! I still love Duncan so much but Gustav was my favorite prince this time around. I also can’t help but love Briar, and Ruffian stole some scenes as well. I can’t wait to see where things are going 🙂

  4. Nooo~ reading your review makes me want to read this book sooner! I already have it on my TBR but it’s a ways down the list still~ but, I can’t wait to get it. I love fairy tales and middle grade books charm me so. 🙂 Thank you for the lovely review!

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