Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My First Graphic Novel & Review: The Courageous Princess by Rod Espinosa

Last month my husband and I went to our local comic book store on Free Comic Book Day.  He used to collect comic books as a kid, so we figured we'd go over and check out what they have.  Besides the few comics-turned-movies I've seen, I didn't know anything about comics, comic book stores or graphic novels.  I was pleasantly surprised by the visit because it was a lot of fun!  I spent most of the time browsing the graphic novel section and I found several intriguing choices (Castle Waiting, Twilight, Pride and Prejudice).  After a while I finally decided to buy The Courageous Princess by Rod Espinosa. Why did I choose this one?  (1) It's colorful artwork is beautiful, (2) it has a fairy tale premise (and I'm a sucker for that), and (3) it's geared to a younger audience (a.k.a. it looked G-rated).  So here's my first take on a graphic novel:

The Courageous Princess
by Rod Espinosa
Publisher: Dark Horse edition, April 2007

Princess Mabelrose lives in New Tinsley, a small kingdom in the vast Land of a Hundred Kingdoms. She's a humble, kind-hearted young woman with loving parents.  One day Mabelrose is kidnapped by a ruthless, powerful dragon named Shalathrumnostrium (it's a mouthful so I'll refer to him as the dragon) who commands an evil army of creatures. The dragon routinely kidnaps and ransoms princesses throughout the kingdoms.  But Mabelrose is different from other princesses who wait for princes to come to the rescue.  When she sees the opportunity, Mabelrose escapes from the dragon's castle. So begins her journey back home crossing the Land of a Hundred Kingdoms. Along the way, the courageous princess makes friends, helps strangers, and dodges the dragon's many minions. Meanwhile, her father King Jeryk travels to find out who took his daughter and bring her back home safely.

From the very beginning, I really love Mabelrose. She has no airs and uses all her ingenuity to prevail over challenges. Even though she's a little clumsy, she's gutsy and her adventure is fun to read. Faith plays a big role in this story. She regularly prays before bedtime for the strength and courage to get out of her situations and to bless her parents and friends back home. It's refreshing because I haven't read much lately where characters embrace faith in this way.  The story doesn't end in this volume and I look forward to finding out what's next in store for Mabelrose.

Bottom Line: Charming fairy tale + beautiful artwork = a graphic novel that shouldn't be missed!
My Rating: 4/5

Reading a graphic novel was fun.  I loved the details of the artwork---the castles, the dresses, the characters' expressions.  It's a different experience from reading novels and imagining the entire world in my head. I'm definitely going to incorporate graphic novels into my TBR list.

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