The Princess and the Fool by Paul Neafcy

This is my review of the delightful The Princess and the Fool. Off we go.

The book
The Princess and the Fool is a story about a princess named Katherine, and a Fool who is sort of her friend and bodyguard. Katherine has to marry the king of the neighboring kingdom, Warwick, because if she does it’ll apparently heal the broken relationship between the kingdoms and end the war. She doesn’t want to and on the way to her wedding she runs off, and while she’s chatting to her Fool and considering her options her father, king Duncan, is set upon by bandits and killed. So suddenly Katherine is not only destined to marry Warwick, she’s also queen. She and the Fool go on the run so she won’t be killed by the creepy bandits as well. And they go on a caper through the country side, and that’s fun.

This was written by a guy who also makes YouTube videos. He isn’t in the batch of YouTubers who got book deals, in fact I think it’s self-published. He is a writer who just happens to have a YouTube channel. His videos are great, by the way. He’s delightful and grumpy. There’s a sentence you hear a lot.  

The book is written from a bunch of perspectives. It can sometimes feel a bit hack-y, which it didn’t here. I feel like the multiple perspectives worked. The voices were distinct and interesting and they were different enough for them to feel like they were needed.

It was really funny. It’s written mostly in a very conversational style. And I feel like especially the Fool and Althea, who is a minor character, were sassy and snarky, and they were really good. Katherine is also really funny, but she’s a bit more haughty and sarcastic, she feels very distinct. The book also pokes fun at knights in shining armor I feel. Warwick is not only king, he’s a great fighter, he’s tall and dashing and handsome. He’s also very… honorable and kind and moral all the time. He’s like a take-charge kind of guy and he just fulfills every “Knight stereotype” ever, and I loved him. He’s also at the same time well rounded, he’s not just the stereotype. He has a history and agency and he’s a good guy.

I really liked Katherine. I feel like she had excellent growth, and she was clever and she had a very natural development. I also think her decisions were rational and smart and while she was only 18 she was very mature and she did what she had to. She might have wanted to go with her heart, but she did what was best for her people, which I respect. Good job Kathy.

I totally called the twist by the way. I’m not saying it’s obvious, at all. I just like being a “detective” and making wild accusations, and I thought I was wrong for a long time, and then weirdly pleased with myself. I also do this when I watch detective TV shows, the wilder my logic the better. I am a delight to watch TV with.

I do think that it had a bit too much happening. There’s a lot of backstory, and a lot of hinting, and there’s a lot of world building, and the book isn’t even 400 pages. So I think it could have done with some professional editing here and there, although I really liked it. I think there is supposed to be another one (?), in which case this had to lay the groundwork, and do world building, and everything, but it felt a little crowded at times.


I liked it. I thought it was nice and funny, and it was snarky and fun. It felt like a sort of traditional knight and princess story but made, modern is not the word I’m looking for. It feels like the language is modern. It’s not stilted and “olde,” it’s modern and funny. Which I loved. It was great.