Book Review: Hero

Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she's the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, "Did romance have to be part of the adventure?" As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance."

Hero is the sequel to Enchanted. It centers around Saturday who was, admittedly, the most "me" of the Woodcutter Sisters. And by that I mean the me I was as a child- rough and tumble, idolizing my father, happiest when working and working hard, and certain that I wasn't at all magical (much to my sorrow). So I was already disposed to enjoy this. 

It starts off a bit rough- Saturday seems petulant and immature, without a lot of the 'why' behind her outbursts. But give it time and patience- the story, like Saturday, matures through conflict and rough spots into something lovely. And once again, the sheer number of fairytale nods in here (especially to lesser-known fairy tales) is surprising. It's a charming spin on the classic "sword-wielding prince saves swoon-ridden princess" trope, as well as a story about one young woman's maturing through self-sufficiency. And, amazingly, I found the romance in this book both more believable and more enjoyable.

By the end of the story, I liked Saturday as much as I'd hoped. I also appreciated the play on gender roles and expectations, as essentially three characters in this stories go through 'shape shifting' of a sort. And now it's on to Dearest, which focuses on seamstress Friday. And then, gods willing, a story about Thursday. Because as much as I identify young Beth with Saturday, I wish grown-up Beth was more like Thursday- and I need to know how she became the Pirate Queen. NEED.

I recommend this for fans of fairytale mashups and retellings, YA fantasy, and Enchanted (although this book works as a standalone!). Also female protagonists (especially non-stereotypical ones), romance that involves verbal sparring and playfulness, magic, and swashbuckling.

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