Saturday, February 22, 2020

Book Review: The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived

The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived by Daniel Errico

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First up, I can't comment on the Hulu show that has been made of this book as it is not (yet) accessible in Canada. Second, when I requested this ARC I was not aware it was being made into a show; I just wanted to read a fairy tale with a 'twist'.

We start out very typical with "Once Upon a Time" and while it all ends with "Happily Ever After" the content in the middle of this knight's story is not quite what you'd expect. Written in rhyming couplets it's easy to find a flow and pace that works and keeps the story quite even throughout. But watch out, I found myself thinking, talking and writing in rhyme for a time (lol).
"The driver ran away and left the carriage to the thief.

Cedric peered from up above, behind an autumn leaf."

As I said, The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived has a couple of twists on the 'typical' knight saving story. There are three distinct differences. First we have a female dragon (but don't worry she still breathes fire) and our knight saves, not only a princess, but her brother who is (of course) a prince. Our final twist is foreshadowed many times with the repetition of the line "this isn't how it ends". [Spoiler Alert] (highlight text to read) The final twist is that in the end the knight doesn't want to marry the princess, he wants to marry the prince! There is even a moment of hesitation by the king that help us understand this is maybe a little different but okay in the end. The story is complete with a note from the United Nations (UN) that everyone should be free to be themselves.

Something interesting, that I noted right away, is that if you pick this book up and don't flip to read the end (only look at cover and blurb) you'd not guess at the ending. I like that this means children may choose the book without their parents necessarily censoring (ie: at the library) due to it's LGBTQ+ content. This helps get the message out that 'gay books' aren't to be flagged or called out. They are just the same as every other story book for children and should be consumed the same as any other story we read to kids.

This cute story, with it's fun illustrations has one flaw for me. Halfway through our boy, Cedric, is knighted by the one training him. However his trainer is a knight himself. Historically this would have been a king or queen bestowing the honour; but hey nobody likes hierarchical society anyways right? :)

Overall I can't speak highly enough to this story and it's subtle, yet strong messaging. Regardless of what makes you 'different', be it gender, race, religion, sexuality, etc.; we are all the same in the end. Each of us is on a quest to find our 'Happily Ever After'.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

Follow me on Goodreads


Kaisievic said...

Hi Mel, thanks for the review. Btw, knights were often knighted by their leige lords, sometimes on the battlefield. So, not just Kings and Queens bestowed knighthoods (very different to today).

Leonore Winterer said...

Aw, this sounds very cute! Somehow, however, I'm worried that libraries will do the 'censoring' themselves (by putting a 'warning' label on it or something) after the first couple parents complain...