Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Series: The League of Princes #1
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Reading Level: Middle-grade
Pages: 436 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard 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, the princes 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 assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

I was on the hunt for a barrel-full-of-laughs re-telling when Goodreads led me to this wonderful novel. A re-telling about some of my favorite princesses told from the unlucky perspective of the princes? Sign me up. I went straight to my library and picked it up that day and found myself completing the 436 page book that night. Full of humor and amazing interpretations of some of our beloved fairy-tales, Healy created a vivid world full of kingdoms and princes who just want to be respected and considered heroes.

Hands down, what made this book was the characterization. I could talk about it for hours on end because it was not only amazing, but it was creative! Let me explain...

Prince Frederic is engaged to Cinderella. See, Prince Frederic is scared of everything, even dust-bunnies. If it can cause any harm to him, whether it's ruining his clothing or making him sneeze, he does not want to touch it or go near it. But Cinderella is an adventuresome sort. After being locked up in her evil stepmother's home for days, she was simply itching for an adventure as opposed to the daily picnics that Frederic planned for them in her castle.

Prince Gustav saved Rapunzel, only to have Rapunzel save him. The youngest of seventeen burly brothers, he's often made fun of in his kingdom because he was saved by a girl. His rescue attempt of the girl trapped in the tower turned into her saving him with her tears of magic (which makes my heart squee when I think of the movie Tangled). He's embarrassed by all and covers up his feelings with a macho-man attitude, even though he is constantly complaining about something while he is simultaneously threatening someone about something else.

Prince Duncan is happily married to Snow White, but nobody attended the wedding. They're both odd ones, you know? She talks to animals and he has no friends because he's a five foot two prince that acts like he's seven and he can't help but name every woodland creature he finds. In other words, they're a happy animal-loving couple. But even then Snow White needs her peace and quiet away from her childishly loud and naive husband who believes that he possesses the magic of luck.

And Prince Liam is running from Sleeping Beauty, who is really the most brattiest princess to ever walk the planet--and she wants to keep it that way. Perhaps the most heroic of our three princes, Liam broke off a marriage with the monstrous Briar Rose because her attitude reeks worse than rotten tomatoes. His parents were greedy and only arranged their marriage so they could gain wealthy anyway. His closest confidant is his younger sister, Lila, who has an adventuresome spirit all her own. 

Together, the four pairs above weave a great tale of twisting stories and relationships all when Frederic gives up the safety of his kingdom to search the forest for his precious Ella after she ran off to rescue their kidnapped singing bard. Along the way he aligns himself with the other unique and odd princes and they encounter evil witches, bandit kings, goblins, and trolls. And let me tell you, when this book is done, you will absolutely adore trolls because they are the cutest and funniest creatures ever. While trying to save Ella they quickly learn of perhaps the most dastardly scheme in history that can ruin all of their kingdoms and spread evil far and wide. And, somehow, it's up to our four bumbling princes and Ella to save the world. 

This book is just all kinds of awesome. It had a lot of girl-power in it because Ella was smart, witty, and able to defend herself. We saw a lot of all the characters aside from Rapunzel, but I'm hoping to see more of her in book two because she paid such a pivotal role near the end of the novel.

A barrel of laughs and adventure, this is one middle grade re-telling that cannot be ignored. Healy has me pining for book two. 

 5 stars



  1. I agree! I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the next one so very much :) I love retellings and this one was a great one! I immediately tried to get my brother to read it right after :) It was just so unique, odd, and sweet! Great review!

  2. This sounds absolutely WONDERFUL! I love the idea of reading a story about the princes that got the short end of the stick. It is about time that the guys that made the princesses stories worth telling get a story of their own! And from your review, it sounds like it is a story worthy of them! I will absolutely check this book out. Especially if I get to laugh my butt off for 436 pages!

  3. I have this one I hope to read it this month or next!