Review: The Princess Beard
If you read the first two books — KILL THE FARM BOY and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD GNOMES — you will discover that THE PRINCESS BEARD has much the same tone, a silly storyline, and genre twisting galore. Yep, it’s as fun as the first two. Let’s dig in, shall we?
In the first book, Worstly the farmboy fatefully met Fia, the strong woman, scaling the thorn-covered tower in which a sleeping beauty was hidden. And now we get to know the beauty’s story after she finally wakes.
The Lady Harkovrita wakes up to discover everything has changed. We eventually discover that the reason why she was cursed in the first place was because she refused to agree to an arranged marriage. So once she wakes up and assesses the situation, including the fact that her parents are nowhere to be found, she decides to make her escape and finally live her own life. And, oh boy, does she.
In this third adventure of Pell, THE PRINCESS BEARD follows a princess--with a beard--who discovers that piracy is the life for her. Yarrr.
What ensues is a crazy story of questionable meat products, an unusual pirate captain (a parrot), and a motley crew of recruits including a muscle-bound centaur who can conjure delicious teatime treats, a dryad who wants to be a lawyer, and an elf who’s tired of working for his uncle. Naturally hilarity ensues. And even a little social justice messaging. But don’t forget the puns, such as the Myn Seas to which they brought casks of special chocolate to keep the seas soothed so they wouldn’t attack –it all goes downhill from there, they milk that analogy for all it’s worth.
I don’t want to ruin the storyline for you because Hearne and Dawson do an admirable job of weaving everything together from the start to the end. The novel seems to take a few side-tracks where our heroes find themselves in some strange locales and in some sticky situations. And for a while in the middle I was wondering if this meandering had a point. Fortunately, I trust the authors and everything tied up together in the end — even a little better than FARM BOY which had a few open-ended threads. Although some of those climax scenes did get a little more than manic, I swear. (Hearne & Dawson: You two just can’t help yourselves, can you? Rappelling accountants? Really?)
The characters are endearing as we get to know their troubled pasts — many of whom crossed paths with characters in the first two books. Such as the independent-minded Lady Harkovrita who renames herself Morgan and decides that she needs to choose her own way in life and surprisingly finds piracy fulfilling. The dryad whose inherent magic will eventually turn her into a flesh-eating monster but whose real superpower has to do with her by-mail legal studies. The centaur with daddy issues and a sweet tooth. They are all so very different in their attitudes and backgrounds, but of course when a group can find common ground amazing things can happen.
While THE PRINCESS BEARD was fun to read, I didn’t enjoy it as much as FARM BOY and GNOMES. It was a little preachy, especially the shaming of the poor centaur which felt forced, like they had a point to get across, but it wasn’t very subtle (in this kind of book, subtly isn’t a strong suit). A few too-easy solutions to problems, which at least meant a happy ending. Still, one has to admire the goofy fun, manic antics, and clever punny humor used to string along a story where even ‘bad’ people can work together to do the right thing.
- Recommended Age: 14+
- Language: A handful
- Violence: Several instances of death and minor gore
- Sex: None (vague innuendo)
Don’t forget to check out the giveaway for a copy of this book! THE PRINCESS BEARD GIVEAWAY