Series: Cursed Princess Club #1
Publisher: WEBTOON Unscrolled
Publication Date: January 3, 2023
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Meet Gwendolyn – living proof that princesses don’t always have it all. See, although she lives in a castle and her father is the King, Gwendolyn isn’t like a movie princess, or even a fairly-tale princess. She’s got a big heart, but isn’t particularly attractive and doesn’t have a Disney-quality singing voice. But one night, she accidentally stumbles upon the twisted world of the Cursed Princess Club, and her life will never be the same. Hexed and cast out, the ladies of the club are just the people Gwendolyn needs to show her that just because she doesn’t “fit the mold” does not mean she’s any less of a princess.
I’ve become a huge fan of webtoons/tapas/etc lately. So when I saw the amusing cover art, I couldn’t resist picking this up and I’m so glad I did. This is a silly and sweet graphic novel that gleefully subverts the usual fairy tale tropes.
Gwen is the youngest daughter of the King of the Pastel Kingdom. Rather than a room full of cute forest animals or an enchanted garden like her older sisters, Gwen attracts a possum who keeps biting her head. She’s kind and she loves cooking for others, especially her brother, who’s both blindingly beautiful and a food critic. To keep them protected, their father has kept them hidden away, never so much as going outside the castle. But now they’re being betrothed to the three princes of the Plaid Kingdom. It’s not until she overhears the youngest prince – her betrothed – telling his brothers that she’s ugly that she realizes she’s any different from her sisters. Dispirited, she runs off into the woods and into the Cursed Princess Club.
Each princess (there’s one prince, but he was outvoted about changing the name) has some curse, whether that’s turning into a crow every time they get anxious, appearing to be an elderly woman, or being cursed to only have lobster claws on a human body (there’s a story there). They’re not the perfect princesses that their kingdoms expect, but their mantra is that true beauty comes from within and judging people by their looks is, well, not good. According to their leader, “[w]e are still beautiful and worthy of happiness, no matter what any person or prince thinks.”
So it’s easy to see where this could get preachy very quick, but it’s done with a light touch and surrounded by so much wackiness that it never becomes overbearing. And if there’s one thing this comic is, it’s completely off its rocker zany. There’s this entire extended gag with waffles that had me giggling, not to mention the various curses. My particular favorite, of course, was the interactions between Gwen’s supposed fiancé and a truly amazing llama.
Beyond the madcap silliness, there’s a truly sweet heart to the comic, too. None of her family believe she’s not beautiful and they’re frankly confused and offended that anyone would think otherwise. All they see are her good parts – her gentleness, her kindness. Gwen’s adorably awkward when talking with people outside her family – except for the Cursed Princess Club – and watching her try to let her prince know that she’d rather just be friends? She has such good intentions that are hilariously subverted. The art is perfectly suited for the story, with various costumes for the different kingdoms (Pastel, Plaid, Monochrome?) and gorgeous colors.
OK, just one more hilarious llama pic. Overall, this was a quick, cute read and I’m dying to read the next volume! Very much recommended if you’re looking for something sweet and silly!