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!