I finally got to pick this book up and basically I think everyone should read it.
Why? BECAUSE REASONS:
- Adrienne, our heroine, is snarky and sweet and loveable. She’s adventure-seeking and hilarious. And she has a pet dragon named Sparky!
- Adrienne is a heroine of colour! And, actually, you know, points that out to a suitor who comes calling for a “fair” maiden.
- The inspiration for Adrienne is drawn from the author’s wife! (She must be awesome) see this interview with RACEBENDING.COM: So are there any challenges writing Adrienne since she’s a woman of color?
WHITLEY: To some extent… It’s something I’m pretty careful with. Obviously, being a white man myself, and having a wife who is black, I recognize and see fairly often representations and interpretations of black women that are put out there. I see first-hand the damage it does and it gives me the edge of seeing the wrong way to do things. As I’m thinking about it, there are things I think about that I wouldn’t necessarily key in on as being a problem, but if I run it by by my wife Alicia, she can say, “Oh, well, that may not be the way to say it.” Like, she’s not particularly happy with the fact that in a number of reviews of Princeless, Adrienne is referred to as being “sassy.” People mean well when they write it, and I wouldn’t chastise people about it myself, but applying the word “sassy” is problematic.
- She’s smart and can figure out how to get out of traps and towers and how to ride her pet dragon (saddle!)
- Her pet dragon is a girl!
- She is rescuing her siblings!
- She sticks up for her twin brother (even when he didn’t entirely stick up for her. He tried, but…)
- There is actual discussion of female warrior costumes vs. gear that doesn’t slut shame women, but points out the flaws in the costumes: ie. why does Adrienne have to wear gear that doesn’t properly protect her? But it also celebrates the female characters these were designed off of, particularly the Diana outfit (rope turns out to be helpful, amirite, Adrienne?!)
- Her sidekicks? Girl blacksmith (Bedelia, the red head above) and girl dragon! Ladies doin’ it for themselves! (And this is better than what we can say about Wonder Woman’s current sidekicks. Ahem.)
- This book is not just for kids. There are a lot of things in here that are funny for kids, but the significance of them (ie. sexism of female costumes and double standards) is very much appreciated by my adult self.
- Adrienne’s twin brother, Devin, is another highlight because he is derided for having feminine traits or not being enough of a “warrior.” For any gay men or young boys who were bullied because they were deemed by family, peers or society to be “not masculine enough,” Devin is a treat.
- Basically, you should read this book. And share it with others. <3 We are planning on having Girl Scouts come to my LCS in the new year and this is one of the books I am going to introduce them to! I will also be letting our Ladies of the Ladies Comic Book Night know all about this one. Definitley going to pitch reading this one in the new year, too.
Adrienne and Sparky!
ALL OF THESE WORDS!
I met the author of this at SPX 2012 and he was delightful to talk to, and his comic is delightful! I’m so glad my shop carries Princeless.