Princeless: The Pirate Princess

illus. by Rosy Higgins & Ted Brandt. 128p. Action Lab. Jun. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781632291028.
RedReviewStarGr 3–7—Why should a princess wait around for a prince to rescue her when she can rescue herself? Better yet, if a princess cannot save herself, why does it have to be a prince and not another princess who rescues her? This is the premise of "Princeless," a refreshing, new graphic novel series starring a diverse cast of strong and independent young royals. Together they embark on quests, battling enemies and making friends along the way. In this volume, princesses Adrienne and Bedelia find Raven Xingtao, daughter of the feared Pirate King, locked in a tower, placed there after her jealous brothers convinced their father that his eldest child should be treated as a princess (i.e.: locked in a tower so she could be rescued by a prince) and not as the rightful heir. Adrienne, Bedelia, and Raven are adept fighters and easily overpower the men. The rest of this installment focuses on the relationship between Adrienne and Raven as they go from friends to enemies and then to honorary sisters. Bold colors allow the characters to pop against intricate scenery, and the action sequences are engaging and easy to follow. Pair with Jorge Aguirre's Giants Beware! (First Second, 2012).
VERDICT Diverse and memorable characters coupled with snappy dialogue and plenty of action make this a must-have for all children's graphic novel collections. Put this in the hands of anyone who says action comics are only for boys.

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