A Fairy-tale Ending by Jack Heckel (2015)
This book was so much fun! A kingdom beset by a marauding dragon, a sleeping princess waiting to be rescued, glass slippers, a troupe of performing dwarves, balls, battles, and a not-so-charming prince—this book has got all my favourite fairy-tale tropes and characters, and it’s got them with lots of added humour and twists.
While there are a trio of decidedly non-passive princess/heroines in this story, for me this was a fairy tale of two heroes. Will Pickett is the unlikely hero of the two—clumsy, dreamy, but big-hearted. His life as a dirt-poor farmer transforms when he accidentally rids the kingdom of a dragon and rescues a damsel in distress. However, suddenly being catapulted into fame and fortune and winning the hand of a beautiful princess (with some scary mind-control tendencies) is a little more than he can handle on his own…
Prince Charming starts out as the anti-hero—a vain, arrogant philanderer, he still manages to be very funny (I giggled in public more than once while reading), and surprisingly brave, though in vain-glory style. Happily, he eventually redeems himself and gives up his womanising ways, if not his painful sensitivity to fashion. My only concern was that he seemed to spend most of the story in a state of self-inflicted concussion…
There are more than just dragons to beware in the kingdom of Royaume: Sleeping Beauty learns that messing with dark magic is a very dangerous business, and definitely not recommended, neither is antagonising giant trolls that (that would be you, Charming), unless you want to get repeatedly hammered into oblivion. True Love is a dangerous business too, it can strike in the most unlikely places and make surprising matches.
I highly recommend this for fairy tale lovers, especially if you enjoyed Shrek. There was a smattering of bad language, nothing too strong, though it did jar the reading experience a tad for me in what was otherwise a clean read. I would rate this as a YA novel, and would love to see it made into a film by Dreamworks!
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