This new-aged comic fairtale is about a princess stuck in a tower who is sick of princes coming to save her, until one day a prince comes along she doesn’t mind at all. The catch: that prince is actually a princess. Amira and Sadie are two princess who meet when Amira hears Sadie yelling from her tower and shows up to rescue her. But they work together to get Sadie out of the tower, and share their strengths as they adventure through the kingdom, falling in love along the way. It is a powerful reinvention of the age old damsel in distress story.
The pros of this book are: the way it handles a princess being locked in a tower (Sadie admits at one point that she had sabotaged all the princes who had come before Amira to save her), that the princess are responsible for rescuing a prince who couldn’t defeat an ogre, and then the girls defeat the ogre. At the end, they spend some time apart only to be reunited in marriage in the epilogue.
The cons: I basically just told you page for page what happened. The plot moves quickly without much depth, O’Neill packs a lot into a short number of pages and at all feels somewhat scripted and forced. It is definitely more aimed at younger readers despite the themes it addresses. I had really high hopes for this book, and for what it is I think it does a fair job. However, if more space were allowed for story development, and the themes were given more depth and room to breathe, this could become a classic work in its own right.
It is worth mentioning, though, that this title did win the Autostraddle Comic and Sequential Art Award for Best Graphic Novel/Book. It is a great book to have in a library collection for young readers looking for diversity in their stories and traditional princess tales. I just wish that it was longer and more involved.
O’Neill, K. (2016). Princess Princess ever after. Portland, OR: Oni Press.