Sunday, July 19, 2015

Book Review: The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy (Hero's Guide #2)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Laughs, characters, great story
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
League of Princes fans
Rejoice as this sequel is
As great as the first




You’ll Have Fun Storming This Castle

Somehow, I let almost a year go by since I read Christopher Healy’s first book.  I mean, I’ve had both sequels sitting on my TBR pile the entire time calling my name.  I finally made the time to read The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, and I loved it just as much as the first one.

If you’ve missed this series, don’t start here.  Really.  You get enough background that you could follow the story in this book, but why would you want to jump in to the middle of things?  Plus, the series is so delightful you’ll want to enjoy them all anyway.  As a crash course, we follow the adventures of four Princes Charming who are trying to make names for themselves outside of the way they have been portrayed in the stories that made them famous.  In the first book, they met and stumbled on a plot to kill the bards who wrote the songs about them only to have the story of the rescue not paint them in the most flattering light.

This book picks up a year after those events.  Prince Liam has been living away from his kingdom since he refuses to marry the spoiled Briar Rose, something that has made him extremely unpopular.  In fact, he’s been living with Prince Frederick and his fiancĂ©e Ella.

However, one day Liam is kidnapped by Briar Rose to force their marriage to finally take place.  Frederick and Ella act fast sending notes to Prince Duncan and Prince Gustav in hopes of stopping the wedding.  Things go hilariously wrong, and the League of Princes finds themselves tasked with a mission from Briar Rose herself to steal something from the Bandit King or spend the rest of their lives in a dungeon.  But what might her true purpose in this mission be?

I had forgotten just how funny these books are, but it didn’t take me long to be reminded.  I was laughing before the first chapter was over.  It’s hard not to laugh as the characters are so comical, which leads to some great situations and witty banter.  As if that weren’t enough, each chapter begins with an excerpt from how to guides written for heroes or villains.  Those two or three sentences alone are often enough to get laughs.

I will admit I had to take a couple of chapters to remember who all the characters are and their relationships to each other, but there were enough reminders that I was back on board in no time at all.  While the Princes can still be a bit silly, it didn’t bother me this time around like it did in the first book, and I really enjoyed seeing the character growth in all the characters.  The women got just as much development here, and the book left me wondering where the various relationships were going to go in the next book in the series.

The story starts out simply enough but soon gets complicated with plenty of twists along the way.  It kept me so glued that I read almost half of it in one day.  I just had to know how things were going to end.

If you are like me, the title of this book makes you think of The Princess Bride.  Fans of that movie will be delighted at a throwaway line in the book that is a clear reference to the film.  And if you aren’t a fan of the film, obviously you need to watch it again.

The third book is calling my name as loudly as ever.  I’m hoping I can get to it in the next few months and find out how Christopher Healy brings his story to an end.  He certainly set up many possibilities fun possibilities in The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle while giving us a great tale that stands on its own.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Hit the link to find more great Middle Grade novels.

12 comments:

  1. I am late to the party on this one. The sequel sounds great, but I will be sure to go back and start from Book #1. Thanks for the intriguing review.

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    1. Yes, do started from the beginning. You won't regret it.

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  2. I love the sound of this series - thanks for the enthusiastic recommendation!

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  3. These do very well in my library. I'm very curious to see what The Worst Thing About Saving the World is like, since Healy is such a funny writer!

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    1. I had missed that he had a new book coming out. I can't wait to read it based on the title alone. Glad to hear this series is popular with your library patrons.

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  4. I haven't even heard of these books. Thanks for the heads up. I think my grandkids would really like these.

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    1. I won't tell anyone if you sneak a peak at them yourself after your grandkids read them. Or before.

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  5. I've heard great things about the first one, which I haven't read yet. Ooh, I love spinoffs on fairy tales, especially when they're humorous. This sounds like a lot of fun!

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    1. These books are so much fun. Sounds like you'd really enjoy them, too.

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  6. Sorry about not being able to comment sooner! I get the feeling that this book is seriously interesting. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Definitely interesting and lots of fun.

      Thanks for the comment - no need to apologize for the timing at all.

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