Princess Maxine of Titan has one goal in life: to be like Sherlock Holmes. Instead she’s stuck with a stupid pony doing stupid princess things. When her baby brother, the Prince, is kidnapped, along with other infant princes in neighboring kingdoms, Princess Max must put both her detective and princess powers to use to find them.

Our story begins when Princess Max, frustrated that she can’t do detective work, is reminded by her mother that she has princess-y commitments for her birthday. To pacify her mother, and to create mischief, Max makes armor for her pony, Justine, wwith whom she has a hate/love relationship. The Queen disapproves of Justine’s armor, which Max has attempted to build with special features, such as the ability to “embiggen” (Max is still working out the details and technicalities).  Amber, Max’s fairy godmother, grants Max the powers of charm, signing, and diplomacy, but there are more to these princess powers that Max will later learn. Amber also grants Justine’s armor the power to fly and to breathe underwater. Max heads to her birthday party only to find her brother missing. She puts her detective nose to the ground and finds that having the powers of deduction and diplomacy (not to mention the aforementioned secret powers) are a good thing. Now nicknamed by Justine as the “Mega Princess,” Max and Justine use Max’s princess powers (and power of deduction) to find clues, solve riddles, and eventually bring Max’s brother, and the other princes, home.

There is much to commend about Mega Princess. The big draw is Justine, who not only embiggens and breathes underwater, but also quotes movies routinely (her favorite is The Wizard of Oz), which drives Max to distraction, and still manages to be endearing. Max’s obsession with detectives is put to good use, not only in the introduction, but also as the story progresses. Thompson uses fairy tales as the base for some of Max’s princess powers; such as Max growing her hair out to solve a puzzle, much like Rapunzel.

But if there is one big takeaway from Mega Princess I would want to impart it’s that it’s feminist as heck. Max does not reject her princess-y stereotypes but subverts them to work with her, not against her. Max is also able to stand on her own two feet and she’s not afraid to ask for help when she needs it, which is an important lesson we can all learn.

I was not only enchanted with the story but also with the artwork and coloring. There is a hint of Lisa Frank to the art while the coloring is heavily influenced by saturated water colors. As each chapter takes you into a new kingdom, the variations of the color reflect the kingdom they are in. Tiny Kingdom, for example, consists of small people and creatures who live near the base of grass, plants, and trees, so the coloring has tones of browns and greens while the underwater kingdom has deeper and variant shades of blue.

The publisher assigns this an all ages rating, but I disagree. While there are no adult themes here, there is a lot of word play and subtlety I don’t think the younger generation would get so I would recommend this title for mid-grades and up.

Mega Princess
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Brianne Drouhard
ISBN: 9781684150076
KaBOOM!, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: All-Ages
  • Lisa R.

    | She/They

    Reviewer and Content Editor

    Lisa contains multitudes. She is a content wunderkind, librarian, geek, and makes a delightful companion to trivia teams. She does not live in Brooklyn nor attend a fancy college. She spills her guts at https://lisarabey.substack.com and she can be found as @heroineinabook across the internet.

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