Monday, June 3, 2013

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

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy
#2 in the League of Princes series
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 496
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Special Shelf

This is a review for a sequel, but there really aren't any spoilers here.

BUT, if you're still worried, you can read my review of the first book instead.


From Goodreads:

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose - to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms.

But alas, such fame and recognition only last 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.


Is it as good as the first?

Look, the first book left some pretty big shoes to fill. I had every confidence that Christopher Healy wouldn't let me down, but I'll be honest, I was a little worried. It's not that I had any real reason to worry. It's just that, well, when a book is SO good, it's kinda hard for a sequel to live up to that.

But don't worry, because The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle totally lives up to all my internal hype. I keep almost wanting to say it's better than the first book, but then I remember how awesome the first book was and I think no, no, it can't be better (but maybe it is a little better. Or, no, ahm...agh I'm not good with ranking things.)

So, yeah, I'm going to go with: Yes, it is definitely as good as the first.

(and maybe even a little better.)

Are all my favorite characters back?

YES! Plus a few new ones who are now also favorites.

And not only are they back, but they're just as great as they were in the first book. Maybe better, since there's all sorts of character growth going on.

Well, Liam is a little less great than the first book but that's because he's doing hero-soul-searching and you know me and issues. I just wanted him to be quiet, put on his cape, and get down to the mission. Still, he's not that bad.

But his sister Lila? SHE was beyond awesome. Talk about a plucky, intrepid character! She also has a non-romantic relationship developing with another character that made me want to go around hugging puppies every time it came up. It's absolutely wonderful.

Also, it has great spinoff fodder (hint, hint, Mr. Healy...)

Then there's Briar, who was annoying in the first book (in a good way) but is downright BAD in the second book. She's fantastic! She totally revels in her villainous ways but I can't help wanting to invite her to a sleepover party anyway. One thing is for sure, we would definitely have fun. And pageantry (which is a plus, I think).

Her total hate-turned love flirting with Gustav is also a blast to read. They're two characters who are funny and great on their own, but enhance the second they're put together. But don't think romance is a big thing. It's there for sure, and the hints from the first book at switching up the couples are developed more (YAY!) but romance still takes a back seat to the humorous action.

I also have to note how Frederic never failed to make me laugh out loud. I'm a sucker for a good pun, and the way Frederic congratulates the other characters for their unintentional puns just about made my day. While it's insanely hard to pick a single favorite character among all the awesome characters in this book, I think Frederic may just be my favoritest favorite.

Four hundred ninety six pages is a LONG book

And I don't do well with long books. It's just, all those pages! Long books leave a lot of room for boring stuff, and I really don't like reading about boring stuff.

Thankfully, Christopher Healy doesn't write about boring stuff (and if he did, I guarantee he'd find a way to write it funny). The plot is peppered with all sorts of things like questing, mystery solving, battling, sneaking in castles, taking over kingdoms, plotting, scheming, and a bank-heist-type escapade to steal a sword (the presence of swords adds auto points).

Plus, more.

Every bit is super, laugh-out-loud funny. I'm not really big on quoting things, but The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle makes me want to start quoting. I might have annoyed my husband (!!) once or twice or ten or so times reading bits out loud or just shoving the book at him and telling him to read the page I had open. It's that quotable.

Do you have to read the first book? Or the third?

I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to read the first or third books, but, yes, The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle can be read pretty well as a standalone.

As for the first book, their adventures are referenced for sure, but it's pretty easy to get the gist of what happened without totally spoiling book one or leaving the reader lost in book two. So if you only have book two in your hands, go ahead and start reading. Just make sure to track down book one later on (because it's so worth it).  

And as for book three, there is definite Set Up going on at the end (villains cackling, heroes regrouping, travel plans established) but no one is left in peril or anything like that. So if you're worried about not starting the series until the third book is published and the series is complete, don't be. I'm a total proponent of that approach, but in this case I don't think it's necessary at all. Jump in.

Bottom line

Christopher Healy was an auto-buy author after The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and he's still solidly an auto-buy author. I can't stop raving about this fantastic series and book-pushering it on everyone I know.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

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

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.


  1. Oh, wow. A five-star review? I have to be honest and say that I usually wouldn't give a novel like this a second though because of the sheer size of it and the fact that my review queue is absolutely nuts, but it sounds so good! Fantastic thoughts! I just added it to my TBR :)

    1. High page counts usually make me push books waaaay down my TBR, but this one doesn't read long, if that makes sense. I can fly through this book much faster than some other books that have fewer pages.

  2. YAY for heroes! YAY for villains! YAY for Small! YAY because you're married now! :))) So. I saw this at the bookstore two days ago and immediately thought of you. I'm so glad you loved it and I can't wait to read it! I'm sure I'll love it just as much as the first as well :) Great review, darling! <3

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

    1. Yays all around!!! :D I don't usually like to make assumptions about what people will like or not, but I feel pretty confident saying if you loved book one then you'll love book two!

  3. Look at you, reading such a LONG book and still loving it!! Awesome!! This really does sound like SUCH a fun book and I can totally see why you love it so much because it definitely seems like a *you* book. And no doubt, I would get a big kick out of it, as well!

    Awe, Small, is this possibly the first time you've referred to your husband as being your husband in print, rather than as your fiance? Squee!! I hope your wedding day was everything you hoped it would be!!

    1. hehehe I'm taking bold steps every which way :P

      It's a super fun series. I think you'd appreciate it.

      ha, yes, this IS the first time I've said "husband" in mentioning him in a review! It was a fantastic day, thank you :)

    I was waiting to see if there was gonna be an audiobook (because the first one was a hoot) but since I now know there won't be (*sad panda*) I just bought the book for my kindle.

    Since I'm impatient and I NEED some happiness in my life right now as my students were total beasts today.

    Anyway, I did noticed the !! next to husband! Many congrats, Small!!!
    And thanks for the review :D

    1. You're going to love it!!! I'm sad too about the audiobook. I really, really wish there was going to be one.

      Thanks for the congrats!!! eeee!! :)

    2. I join in really late to ask if you know why there's not an audio book, by any chance? (I have a blind mother, and when she visits we often listen to a book further, and we both love the first one. So I had been really hoping to surprise her with the audio version of this.)

    3. I don't know why there isn't an audio version. I SO wish there was one though. Maybe if there's enough demand they'll put one out?

  5. Okay there are so many parts to this review that are quotable and I'd like to pluck different scenes and comment on each bit but I'll try to refrain from making my comment super long, but I swear sometimes it feels like we're sharing the same head when it comes to our favorite books. Because, yes, I wanted Liam to forget about all that noise and get the hell up to his usual bravery-inspiring ways. Lila and Ruffian... I wanted to fill the world with hugs and carebears after that. AND YES. Excellent spin off idea. I liked that Briar was more front and center and deliciously evil, and as a result her growth was so good. And I kept waggling my eyebrows everytime she bantered with Gustav. I'm so happy with that minor development. And, oh, Frederic! I loved that he really took charge in this one! And every instance where he pointed out a pun or Duncan (my favoritest favorite with Fred a close second) randomly dubbed an animal, I laughed out loud without shame.

    And I kept running back to my mother to have her read passages because they were just too funny to enjoy all by myself.

    And don't think I didn't notice HUSBAND! Congratulations! I'm so happy for you guys. I have sappy little floaty hearts circling my head whenever I think about your epicest of romance, in the sense that your meeting was practically preordained as the link was a book. I CAN'T DEAL.

    1. lol I don't mind novel comments AT ALL. Actually, I love them :D And thank you for the congrats!! I'm so excited. I've been saying "fiance" for YEARS.

  6. So, another Special Shelf. Its scary long, but from you review - you swear its good! I trust ya! I just have one question for you.... is this a trilogy, if not how many planned books for this series?

    1. Length isn't an issue at all in this series!

      Yes, it is a trilogy.


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