The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy

I just finished The Hero’s Guide to being an Outlaw, and these are my thoughts.

The book:
So first a look at what the book is about. This is the last in the trilogy The League of Princes, which is a middle grade series about the Princes Charming from Cinderella (Frederic), Sleeping Beauty (Liam), Snow White (Duncan) and Rapunzel (Gustav). They get annoyed with the girls in the stories getting all of the attention when they did the work. In this book they are the prime suspects for the murder of Briar Rose and they need to clear their name. At the same time there’s a Darian war lord taking over the Thirteen kingdoms and the princes are being chased by Bounty Hunters.

My thoughts:
It’s such a great conclusion to the story. I feel like everything was wrapped up and finished and that all the questions are answered. Threads are picked up and tied off.

I loved it. I thought all the princes had magnificent growth, but most of all Gustav I think. Frederic has sort of been growing through the whole series, he’s always been evolving and becoming a grownup. He is also very clear on who he is, which I think is a huge part of growing up. But Gustav, who has always been the run first, ask no questions, and admit to nothing, grows quite a bit, which I loved. Duncan also grows to an extent, but he’s too odd to become a perfect king, but he is lovely. Liam also tries, and he does sort of become a bigger, cleverer person, who has the ability to not always try to be the hero. There’s a horrible sentence, I’m sticking with it.

It’s fun to see how they continually get into trouble, no matter how long they’ve been doing this. And also how incapable they are of getting themselves out of trouble. Which is fun. The scene with the Djinn was great, and an amazing moment for Gustav.

I love the jokes. A lot of the jokes work on a lot of levels. When I was in school to become a librarian, I know, I’m the most badass person on the planet, we had some classes on children’s literature. And we talked about this, how some authors have the ability to make books work for both kids and adults, which is cool. And Healy has that. It’s understandable for kids why it’s funny, but there are jokes with levels and nuances that adults will find funny as well. It’s like a Disney movie. I also love the jokes meant for kids obviously, they’re glorious.

The illustrations are amazing. I think Todd Harris is an amazing illustrator, and the captions are really great.

The new characters are great. Val, and Jerica, they’re really cool, and I like that he has a wide array of characters. In fairytales the girls are usually pretty and the men are handsome and strong. In this series the princesses are pretty (Briar and Ella), and odd (Snow), kind (Rapunzel), cunning, rude (Briar), and brave (all of them). But you also have Val, who is a prisoner the princesses and Lila run into. She’s about seven feet tall and built like a house, and she’s awesome. Jerica is smart, cunning and runs her own ship as a captain, and she is very cool and laid back. I like that his characters aren’t just one thing, they all have differing personalities and aren’t just stock characters.

I also like that while it has a sort of happy ending it isn’t necessarily the end, and that the books sort of rebel against the idea of happy endings, because it seems so unlikely. I think Frederic and Ella is a good example. Ella is Cinderella and Frederic is her Prince. He basically met her at a dance and thought she was pretty so he saved her, sorta, and they’d be happily married, right? They have nothing in common, and they want completely different things, and while they care about each other they would be a horrible couple. I like that it shows that you don’t have to do what people expect, you can find what makes you happy.

I really loved it. I thought it was possibly wrapped up a little too quickly, but it’s a kid’s book, it’s not supposed to be about huge battles and everyone dying horribly in the war. So I think it’s probably fine. I loved it.


If you like middle grade books and you like fairytales this is an awesome take on them and they are hilarious.