Rummanah Aasi
 Princeless grabbed my attention when I heard the creator, Jeremy Whitley, talked about the lack of diversity in comics in a Graphic Novel panel at the ALA Annual Conference this summer. He explained that his own daughter inspired him to write a comic in which she can see and identify herself in the story.

Description: Adrienne Ashe never wanted to be a princess. She hates fancy dinners, is uncomfortable in lavish dresses, and has never wanted to wait on someone else to save her. However, on the night of her 16th-birthday, her parents, the King and Queen, locked her away in a tower guarded by a dragon to await the rescue of some handsome prince. Now Adrienne has decided to take matters into her own hands!

Review: Princeless is a great, fun graphic novel that will appeal to both boys and girls as well as young readers and adults alike. The graphic novel stands out for many reasons: an African American family are the main characters, the plot subverts typical fairy tale and comic cliches as well as gender roles and expectations. The graphic novel opens as Princess Adrienne questions why princesses are always the damsel in distress in stories and a hero is always needed to help rescue the princess, a question I'm sure many of us have asked ourselves. Soon Princess Adrienne is tricked into becoming a damsel in distress despite her disgust. She watches helplessly as her pet dragon scares the pants off of her "rescuers". In an impulsive moment, Princess Adrienne decides to rescue herself as well as freeing her other sisters who are also trapped in castles.
  With interesting characters, funny and snappy dialogue, the graphic novel moves quickly and there is not a dull moment. One of my favorite parts of this volume is when Adrienne befriends a female blacksmith named Bedelia who Adrienne recruits to help design her warrior outfit. The two female characters debate the various female outfits such as the chainmail bikini armor and other variations found in popular comics and TV shows as they brainstorm designs for Adrienne's outfit. Young readers will enjoy an action heroine who takes her destiny into her own hands and stumbles over obstacles along the way, but never gives up. The artwork is beautiful with vibrant colors and careful, clear illustrations that perfectly capture the physical expressions written in the dialogue.
  With the positive message of female empowerment and smart female characters, Princeless is a very appealing comic and it stands out for all the right reasons. I definitely look forward to reading more from this series. I hope more graphic novels also follow its path.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.

If you like this book try: Princeless Vol 2: Get Over Yourself by Jeremy Whitley, Cleopatra in Space series by Mike Maihack, Zita the Space Girl series by Ben Hatke, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson
5 Responses
  1. I think it is sad that we still think that some things stand out because the main characters are of a different race that we often get. Shouldn't we be more eclectic by now? Still, this sounds like a good one and one I need to recommend to my cousin. I think her girls would love this one.


  2. Kindlemom Says:

    I adore that he wrote this for his own daughter, that is just amazing! Glad this was a fun story.


  3. Jen Twimom Says:

    Oh I love this... I never would have seen it if it weren't for you! I wonder if I can get my daughter to read it. Thanks!


  4. Jenny Says:

    This sounds AWESOME Rummanah! Yay for girls rescuing themselves and for funny, snappy dialogue. I have to check this one out for sure:)


  5. Anne Bennett Says:

    Sounds good. Grades 3 and up? Should this be in Elementary School libraries?


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