“Handing Jack the book, I curled into a corner with my coffee and stared at the steadily darkening countryside outside the window. The sunset this evening wasn’t even pretty, which I thought was unfair. The least our universe could offer, as we sped off to defend it, was something pretty to look at.”
Less Than Charming by Rebecca A. Demarest
Star rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars
Summary: In a land where characters are born when they are written, every fictional character lives together since the very first character was told. Magic doesn’t work here, or so they think. Prince Charming has found a way to alter his own stories and it is up to Princess Sophia, the youngest princess from The Twelve Dancing Princesses and her ex-beau Jack the Giantkiller to find out what Charming is up to and stop him from changing the very fabric of their world.
Reasons for picking this book: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and this category was the only one open that i could fit it into.
Review: Before I begin my review I want to disclose that I did win a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway.
First off the world building in this novel is absolutely stellar. I was a little afraid with characters being alive in the world after being written and knowing they are fictional could get too meta but Demarest made her world make sense. She gave it clear rules and it was absolutely amazing and the concept alone pulled me into her book.
I really loved her characters in this book, especially making Prince Charming the villain. He was a lot darker in origin than I would have suspected and I thought it worked really great. He was evil and dark but charismatic, even though you knew how bad he was you couldn’t help but be (pardon the phrase) charmed by him.
Using one of the princesses from The Twelve Dancing Princesses as the protagonist was a really smart move and I was so excited by it. I love that fairy tale but you hardly ever see anything at all about it. Of course this is by no means a retelling of the fairy tale, but I still loved Princess Sophia. She and Jack have great chemistry in this book. (Although I could do without them calling each other lover. I can’t encounter two people calling each other that and not think of those SNL sketches with Will Ferrell and Rachel Dratch in the hot tub.)
I liked the concept of how ‘magic’ works in this world. It reminded me a lot of how Patricia C. Wrede describes magic in her Dealing with Dragons series. I love whenever an author describes how magic feels to the user. It just adds a whole extra layer that I really appreciate.
I think the one thing I can say I didn’t like was Fred. He kinda creeped me out with all his gross comments he made towards Sophia. She always laughed them off but if he wasn’t a corgi then his comments would be predatory. I don’t know, I could appreciate some aspects of his use in the story but not him as a character. No thanks.
I was glad to read this is the beginning of a series because I am very eager to read more of this. I’m so happy I found this book in the giveaway section of Goodreads because it was absolutely amazing and I loved it.
Recommendation: If you like stories like Once Upon a Time where it goes beyond a retelling of a fairy tale then I think you’d really enjoy this novel.
Up next: Nan: The Life of an Irish Travelling Woman – a book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with
(Side note: My yorkie Minnie decided she wanted to model today when Jubilee refused.)