Title: The Runaway Princess
Author; Kate Coombs
Genre: Fairytale (light-hearted fantasy)
The Runaway Princess, staring: Princess Margaret (Meg) and co-staring: a Good Lot of Princes—Mostly Awful, the Gardner Boy Cam, and Bandits Galore. This is a delightful tale spun from straw and gold. Princess Meg does not care much for the contest her father has rigged in exchange for half the kingdom and his daughter’s hand in marriage. Princes from kingdoms all over the world flock to Greeve in order to try their hands at slaying the kingdom’s dragon, ridding the wood of the kingdom’s witch, and capturing the raucous band of kingdom outlaws. Meg does not especially wish to marry any of the princes and convinces some friends to help her escape her parent’s custody in order to protect the very ones which the princes are trying to destroy.
In a good many mad dashes across forests, up and down mountains, and through various city streets, Meg, Cam, the maid Dilly, and their companions rush to get to the prince’s victims before the princes do—sometime succeeding and sometimes just, well…Watching frogs might be the best way to put it. Against them rise the handsome and debonair Prince Bain, as well as the rather ludicrous twin princes Dorn and Dagle, and the obviously villainous Prince Vantor. Unfortunately for Meg, Vantor is the one who quickly becomes the top competitor for her and one half of Greeve, through no merits of his own. In order to stop him, Meg meets the witch and her gaggle of frog friends, a young wizard with ominous airs, the leader of the Bandits and the extended Bandit family, and one crusty old dragon in the most literal sense.
The Runaway Princess made me laugh aloud like any well-told fairytale of its kind—the humorous sort that is, and not the nonsensical sort. Meg and her friends’ antics consistently caused them to blunder into one another and various princes as the tale progressed, causing quite a mess in the climactic scene.
Language free and not dealing with any depth in the realm of witchy magic, despite the witch’s prevalent role, Coombs’ work was a fantastic read and a light one as well. The perfect sort of book to enjoy on a long rainy or snowy day, when anything thicker than the Sunday Comics tends to bog you down. And that is not to say that The Runaway Princess lacked substance, as if was just an empty nothing without foundation, but it was a sweet and light sort of story. Where Tolkien is the meat and Lewis the salad and bread, The Runaway Princess might be considered a puffy pastry dessert.