This review was written by: B
Publication Date of Book: April 2014
Adrienne Ashe is a far cry from your typical princess. For one, she doesn't want to be a princess or even carry out a princess's duties for that matter. She has a strong mind and will of her own that is not easy to break. For this reason, when her parents tell her that she is going to be locked in her very own tower at the age of sixteen because it is the princess tradition, she quickly tells them that this is never going to happen. They reluctantly agree with her, saying that she can follow her own path, but this is all a lie. Adrienne is drugged and then placed in the very same tower she desperately wanted to avoid and is now under the watch of a dragon, and here waits the princess for the dashing knight to slay her dragon, set her free, and whisk her away. Obviously, this is just not going to work for her.
Bored out of her mind, she decides that she doesn't need a prince to rescue her, she has a mind of her own after all. Adrienne wants to be her own hero. This is made easier for her when she finds a sword mysteriously hidden under her bed. Taking the dragon as her companion, Adrienne sets off to rescue her older sisters who are still stuck in their own towers and her little sister who has yet to be placed in one. As the story progresses, we find out that this is not going to be as easy as she expected. Her overbearing, violent, and "macho" father has a plan of his own.
To start off, I would like to point out that this book had lots of great humor. For an example, the following is an excerpt of when a knight comes to rescue Adrienne from her tower but miserably fails. As you can see from the cover, Adrienne, is of darker color.
"I seek a fair maiden Adrienne!"(The Knight yells up to her tower.)
"Fair Maiden! Be YOU Adrienne?"-the Knight
"Be you a MORON?"-Adrienne
"Um...what sayest thou?"-Knight
"I sayest...'Be you a MORON?' Be you of LOWER than normal princely intelligence? Do you UNDERSTAND the words coming out of your own mouth? Do you know what FAIR means?"-Adrienne
"Um...beautiful?," says the knight a little shaky and confused.
"WRONG-O, Prince Chuckles. It means WHITE. As in, FAIR SKINNED, as FAIR as the new fallen SNOW. As FAIR as the MOON, or as FAIR as a LILY. I ASK you then...does this look FAIR to YOU?"-Adrienne
Whitley addresses countless princess stereotypes that we have seen over the years in a new and innovative way, full of humor and independence. I loved princesses when I was younger and all of their fairy tales. That being said, I don't want to say that this graphic novel bashes them, but shows a different story of what we see in today's independent girls. It's a fairy tale that proudly stands on its own while demonstrating the strength, intellect, drive, and courage that females have. It also bravely depicts that girls don't need a Prince Charming to make them happy or to save them from despair. They can also be their own person and find their own way.
There are so many great elements in this story. There is one female character that is a blacksmith but is too afraid to tell people because then the men won't buy her items. She also feminizes her armor for girls so that they show what guys want to see. However, she discovers that girls don't have to wear that stuff and can actually wear armor that will properly protect them for their own sake.
What's the greatest part of Whitley's book is that this story is not just for girls, but it's also for guys. Adrienne's brother is the only son in the family, meaning that he is to take over the thrown when he is older. However, his father says that he is not manly enough, strong enough, or the "kingly" type. He likes to read poetry and be intellectual, which is what the father views as what a king should not be. They need to be able to fight. So, not only do we get to see how it's okay for girls to be independent, but we also get to witness how boys don't have to be macho men to make it in this world. The main point is, you can be who you are as long as you are yourself and shine your true colors. Break away from the stereotypes of society and make yourself happy and stand up for what you believe in. I would have loved to have had my parents read this to me before bed every night and would have definitely eaten it up. Princeless is a great book for all ages and genders, and for this reason, it is definitely getting a high rating from me!
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