Children’s Book Review: ‘Princess Princess Ever After’ by Katie O’Neill

Princess Princess Ever After is a warm-hearted graphic novel centered on the adventures of two strong-willed princesses. Playful in tone, this colorfully illustrated story was originally published as an online comic, but was later picked up by Oni Press for hardcover release. The story begins when Princess Amira rescues another Princess, Princess Sadie, from an archetypal tower. The two use some creative problem solving skills to make their way past the typical fantasy novel obstacles of ogres and evil sisters. Through the arc of the story, both characters learn to recognize their self-worth, their different strengths, and to appreciate each other.

The book feels as though it aims to reach young readers, giving them a cute story with happy young lesbians; yet some of the language and storytelling feels as though this is the kind of book that will land best with teenagers and older readers. The book does not shy away from addressing what is usually considered mature themes; the narrative directly takes on issues such as sexism and fatphobia. Sadie describes herself as “big-boned” and her sister includes “fat” in many of her tirades against her. Amira’s parents expect her to marry a man when really she wants to go adventuring. These are stories which teenagers can especially relate too as they begin to explore their place in the world. Although, let’s be honest, everyone can relate to the idea of failing parental expectations. I especially loved how the book spotlights Sophie’s kindness and compassion as a strength. The graphic novel also smartly highlights Amira’s fierceness and independence.

Katie O’Neills’ joyful and cute illustrations give the whole book a sense of fun. The ending provides an adorable cap to the story. (I won’t give away any spoilers, but I doubt anyone would be surprised how the story ends.) This is a book with a lot of genuine heart; it is an adorable book whose fable-like story is perfect for any princess or prince in your life.

Princess Princess Ever After
By Katie O’Neills
Oni Press
Hardcover, 9781937658458, 200 pp.
September 2016

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