Courageous Princess, vol. 3 The Dragon Queen opens with an introductory page “The story thus far…” so you can pick up with book three if you want without reading one and two. I really want to write that previous sentence with an exclamation point as it is a big pet peeve of mine that stories that span multiple volumes assume you are either reading them in one sitting or you remember what was happening between one volume being published and the next, a period that is commonly an entire year.
So, “The story thus far..” Princess Mabelrose is a prisoner in her Aunt Ursula’s castle, which is guarded by an enormous dragon. Mabelrose’s father and all her companions have been banished to No Man’s Land, an oasis in the middle of a desert surrounded by wild beasts and deep seas and tall mountains. So escapable—barely.
Volume 3 opens for real with Mabelrose awakening in a luxurious bed in her aunt’s castle. Princess Mabelrose is a kind and generous person. Her good graces quickly win her friends among the servants who inadvertently let slip helpful pieces of information, such as where the library and treasure rooms are located. Mabelrose begins to plan how to help her father and friends escape and how to stop her aunt from taking over the Hundred Kingdoms. Mabelrose’s good nature doesn’t just win over the servants though. In the weeks and months Mabelrose is captive, her aunt grows fond of her, although she tries to hide it. This fondness helps save Mabelrose in the end.
Espinosa’s art work is clean and light. His character’s are all distinct and easy to distinguish from each other. The coloring is vivid, but not overpowering. This is a sweet story of the power of good-natured optimism and the artwork reflects that feeling. He has used the comic medium well to move the plot along, using dramatic long shots and tight closeups to accent the dramatic moments.
Ultimately, this is a lovely story of how being a kind person, a loyal friend, and having cleverness can all work together to form a force greater than brute strength and power derived from fear. I would recommend it for kids aged 8-12. If you like non-traditional princesses who are able to not only save themselves, but save their would-be rescuers as well, then this is the book for you!
Courageous Princess, vol 3: The Dragon Queen
by Rod Espinosa
Dark Horse Books, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12