Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Review + Giveaways: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 419
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


From Goodreads:

Enter a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never head of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as "Prince Charming." But all of this is about to change...

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Guztav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other associated terrors to becom the heroes no one ever thought they could be.


Prince Charming had better return

Have you ever read a book and as soon as you turn the last page the first thing you think is, "Gosh, I SO hope there is a sequel!" And not because the author didn't actually, you know, finish the story, but because what they did write was so fantastically amazing that you don't want to even imagine a life where there aren't more of their books to read?

That's pretty much were I'm at right now with Christopher Healy and The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. The ending was left a little open in that "Continuing Adventures" kind of way, but the story wrap was pretty satisfying. Mostly I'm contemplating bribery so I can get my little hands on more because I want more Frederic, Liam, Gustav, and Duncan (a.k.a. Prince Charming) right now.

Lucky for me, there are more books planned!

Prince Charming sets the record straight

I like to think of myself as a fairy tale fanatic, but how much of a fanatic can I really be if I can't even come up with the names of the princes who sweep my beloved fairy tale princesses off their feet? When I rack my brain trying to come up with even one name...I've got nothing. Worse than nothing, I've got "Prince Charming," and that's just embarrassing.

(oh, wait, that's not true. I forgot about Prince Phillip from Disney's Sleeping Beauty. I was totally in love with him when I was five. Oh yeah, and there's Eric from The Little Mermaid. Ok, whatever, that's only two out of how many? I think the point still remains).

But is it really my fault? I'm going to go with author Christopher Healy on this one and blame it on the bards. Because really, how can *I* be blamed for this unfortunate lapse when all the major tales focus on the princesses?

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom focuses on the oft neglected princes and is one of those "real deal tell-all" kind of stories where everything you thought you knew turns out to be not quite true after all. I LOVE that type of story, and The Hero's Guide is a top notch entry in the genre.

Apparently none of the princes ended up with the right princess (except maybe Duncan), none of the princesses are what we've been led to believe, and all of the princes are a little miffed at being relegated to generic "Prince Charming" status.

Prince Charming is hilarious

So that writing style? Yep, I noticed it...because it is fantastic! It's laid back, modern, and very funny. Christopher Healy writes all those observations I would think, but then he makes his characters say them out loud (but about ten million times funnier than I could ever be). Think The Princess Bride for tweens, but still totally readable for adults.

I don't usually LOVE books told in the third person, but I am kinda partial to the universal omniscient variant, which Christopher Healy used to full advantage. (You know, where the narrator talks directly to the reader.)

The nameless narrator almost becomes a character in its own right, breaking the fourth wall to offer up little tidbits of information that the characters are not privy to but I felt super cool for being "in" on (and I also felt embarrassingly predictable because that narrator played me like a fiddle with a number of "made you look" scenarios that I totally fell for).

Prince Charming is fantastic

The plot itself is pretty good. It didn't move at lightning speeds and the events are actually pretty basic, but the characters were so fresh, funny, and endearing that I was never bored.

Plus, people in nine states got to hear me laugh out loud because of my book, which I think is a new record for embarrassing myself by having to explain my Reading-Induced Emotional Outpourings. (I read this during my road trip).

The cast list is pretty big (four princes, five princesses, a witch, a bounty hunter, a bandit king and his henchmen, a giant, trolls, and so on), but they're all so unique and clearly drawn that I didn't have trouble sorting through all of them. This is a light MG book and so the characters don't have a TON of depth, but in this case that's ok.

My favorites are probably Liam and Frederic. Liam is where you'll find your MG-level swoon with his "classic hero" personality and sharp mind (I think I loved him the most when he was taunting the bandit king--I guarantee you will never guess the nature of those scenes!).

If The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom were turned into a movie, Liam would be that hot cartoon prince you totally don't have a crush on because he's a cartoon and that's just weird (...but you totally DO have a crush on him because, hey, he's hot! Dimitri, anyone?)

And, following that line of thought, if this were a movie, Frederic would be voiced by David Hyde Pierce channeling his Niles character. Frederic is such a prissy little wimp, but I adore him. He sees danger everywhere, abhors dirt, and considers picnicking outside to be high adventure. Watching him embark on a quest, rise to the occasion and find his inner strengths was worthy of fist pumps and out-loud cheers.

The other characters are equally amusing and likable, but you'll have to read the book to meet them and learn their hilarious back-stories. Otherwise I'll be rambling about them all day long.

Prince Charming is coming home with me

I am SO ordering a copy for myself and another for my library! My library tweens (girls AND boys!) are going to love The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to pass it on to some teens and even a few adults as well.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is perfect for fans of The Princess Bride, fractured fairy tales, and hijinks.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom that I haven't addressed? 
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Chris Healy Bio: Christopher Healy spent years reviewing children’s books and media online and in print before setting off to write The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, his first children’s book. He lives with his wife and their two children in New Jersey. You can find him online at

But wait, there's more!
Want to win your very own copy? 
Walden Pond Press is graciously providing TWO ways to win!

Info for the giveaway:
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • You must have a US/CA mailing address for the hardcover, International for the audio download
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • Your address is not required, but including it will help with sending the book out to you sooner
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen 
  • This giveaway closes on May 19th 


  1. I have heard way too many great things about this book! The princes sound like lovely road-trip companions, and I do love when a narrator has a personality of their own! I don't know why I haven't bought it yet *writes "Order from Amazon w/ 2 day shipping" on to-do list!*

    Oh, and guess what--it IS going to be a movie! Fox Animation just picked up the rights!

    Thank you for the lovely review, Small!

    1. Awesome! It will make a perfect movie. :D I hope you enjoy it!

  2. This looks awesome! Great review.

  3. This book sounds amazing! (:

  4. Oh, gosh. I seriously cannot think of a book that has made me THIS excited.

  5. Seriously, this is one of the best reviews I've read in a long time, just because it exceeds the awesomeness of all the other awesome reviews I've read recently. I laughed soooo hard! Ummmm, yep, Dimitri! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who TOTALLY DOES NOT have a crush on him. ;)

    I'm stoked to read this. I think I'm hold #4 at the library so hopefully I'll get it soon?? :D Yay for awesome books and great giveaways! Thanks girl! :D

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  6. I am really enjoying this book! I'm only about halfway through it but I am liking the twists and am anxious to know what will be coming next.

  7. Yay! I'm soo glad you liked this book. I have seen lots of other good reviews, but am glad you approve as well! This seems like such a hilarious book and I seriously can't wait to get my hands on it and enjoy!

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  8. I'm do entering this giveaway! It sounds SOOOO good!! :D

  9. I have not heard about this till now. It sounds soooo awesome. And you are right, seems sometimes the princes are generic in the this a form of "prince candy" for little girls? Thank you for the contest.

  10. OMG, Small, how have I never heard of this one? I love fairytale related stuff and this one sounds awesome! I'm totally adding it to my wishlist.

    I loved Prince Eric growing up and still think he's awesome :) Lol, it's good that I'm not the only one who crushes on cartoon characters.

  11. HAHAHAHA! I always felt so silly that I had a cartoon crush on Dimitri!!! Glad I'm in good company ;)

    Both you and Bonnie@ABackwardsStory gave this rave reviews, and I love a good laugh as well as fairy tales, so I'll definitely have to put this on my to-read list! :)

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

  12. Eeeep! I didn't have much of an urge to read this book. NOW I DO. I just love how you describe the princes, their journey, and I WANT TO KNOW HOW THE PRINCESSES DIFFER!

  13. I just saw your review post for book 2 in this series so I thought I'd pop over and read over your book 1 review. This sounds super cute! I check out the price for a Kindle book and its not too bad - less that $7.00. Then, I opened up an excerpt and started reading... OMG what a hilaraous writing style this author has. Its awesome. I think I may just be forced to pick me up a kindle copy.... plus there are illustrations!!!! The only drawback is the length. I noticed the second book is even longer. Does it feel like a long book, or is it soooooo good you just breeze through the pages?

    1. Oh my gosh Gina!!!! You haven't read this series yet?? I think I must have mentally blocked that out because you MUST read this series. You'll totally love it! It is absolutely hilarious, the writing style is perfection, the characters amazing, the illustrations marvelous, the plot fantastic, and those pages will FLY by. It doesn't feel that long at all. Trust me, you know me and big books, and I closed both books wishing there were more pages to read.


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