The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw is written by Christopher Healy. It was published in 2014 by Walden Pond Press. It is the sequel to The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. Posters plastered across the thirteen kingdoms are saying that Briar Rose has been murdered—and the four Princes Charming are the prime suspects, along with Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Lila. Now they’re on the run in a desperate attempt to clear their names.
Along the way, however, they discover that Briar’s murder is just one part of a nefarious plot to take control of all thirteen kingdoms—a plot that will lead them across the ocean, through a scorching desert, and to the doorstep of an eerily familiar fortress for a final showdown with an eerily familiar enemy.
The illustrations in this book were fantastic. There were about two or three where the heroes are just staring/standing dramatically and pretty much just captured the entire ambience of the book.
All the princes were pretty awesome in this book and not as bumbly and incapable, yay! I mean, their chance to save the day was ruined by someone else doing it before them and getting all the credit (again), but still…they all had their awesome moments, especially Frederic, who is probably the most developed of all the princes.
I must admit, I was pretty shocked when I read the book summary and read about Briar’s murder, just because it sounded pretty dark for such a light-hearted book as this one. But Healy manages it well while also maintaining the silly voice that makes these books so fun to read.
I still wish there had been a bit less bumbling, and Healy beat to death the whole “one of the princes starts doing something awesome but another one comes along and messes it up” trope in this book.
Recommended Age Range: 12+
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Middle Grade
“Well, you’ve never faced men like us before,” Liam said, staring him down.
“You mean an overconfident braggart, a muscle-bound doofus, a tiny weirdo, and a beanpole in silk pajamas?” Greenfang said. “Yeah, I’ll give you that. It’s a new combination for me. Now let’s get you to Avondell.”
“I have a question,” Duncan said, raising his hand. “What do mongooses eat?”
“It’s mongeese,” Erik corrected.
“No, really, it’s not,” Pete huffed. “It’s mongooses.”
“EITHER IS ACCEPTABLE!” Greenfang shouted at them.
The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw still contains a little too much of the bumbling, carried to repetitive excess by Healy in this one, but on the whole it shows a ton of character development and contains a lot of fun. The illustrations are fantastic, the part with the genie in the desert was my favorite scene in the book, and Duncan continues to be hilariously weird and random.
You can buy this here: The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw