***Disclaimer: All opinions are my own.***
“They assume the worst, and why not? Is not death the most feared event of our lives, and the greatest unknown?”
– Meghann McVey, Rescuing The Prince
Rescuing The Prince Review
**BE WARNED – CONTAINS SPOILERS**
Rescuing The Prince by Meghann McVey is a young adult novel that centers around a woman named Leah. Leah lives a happy life playing Cinderella at Portalis Park (essentially Disneyland) alongside Cinderella’s prince and real-time boyfriend, Gerry. One afternoon, while working on a parade float, her boyfriend is captured by a dragon. In an attempt to save her boyfriend, Leah chases the dragon through Portalis Park and inadvertently stumbles upon a whole new world; a world that is nothing like our densely populated California. Moments after losing Gerry and discovering this new and magical realm, Leah, still dressed in her Cinderella attire, is mistaken for the missing Princess Fiona of Autumnstead; a nation in this mysterious land that is at risk of being overthrown by others. This case of mistaken identity leads Leah on the adventure of a lifetime. An adventure that includes rescuing Gerry from the dragon (and its fearsome rider), leading Princess Fiona’s life to help save Autumnstead, mastering her unique magical abilities, and learning what her heart truly desires.
Rescuing The Prince conveys an enchanting tale of romance and self-discovery through the employment of several intriguing aspects; one of which is magic. In the Other World, magic is not only present in society, but it is also recognized as a force of nature; a force that requires practice and education. After an uncomfortable public incident, Leah learns that she possesses magical abilities. Similar to Princess Fiona, Leah possesses the power of mirror magic. Unfortunately, not much is known about mirror magic; most likely due to its unknown origins and the overall lack of mirror magic manipulators. However, Leah’s best chance for understanding her powers and learning to control them resides in Valeriya, the top school for magic in the entire Other World. During her short amount of time at the school, Leah makes decent progress in harnessing her powers. With the guidance of her friend Ben, Leah also begins to uncover the secrets of mirror magic. However, before she can make real headway, her magical education is cut short, due to the impending war in Autumnstead. Regrettably, the magical aspect of the story is not further explored. Many questions regarding magic are still left unanswered or unexplained. Even with the open-endedness, the presence of magic is not only crucial for the storyline, but it was also entertaining to read.
Rescuing The Prince also contains a variety of compelling characters. One such character is our main protagonist, Leah. At the beginning of the novel, it is evident that Leah is socially anxious. She heavily depends on Gerry for guidance and support in almost all social situations. In other words, she trusts him to keep her stable and sane in circumstances that are uncomfortable for her. Unfortunately, Leah now finds herself stranded in a foreign land with her social crutch missing. With Gerry missing, Leah is forced to stand on her own two feet. While Leah’s overall evolution is slow, it is definitely worth the wait. For instance, when Leah is first mistaken for Princess Fiona, she cannot find the courage to speak. As a result, the strangers believe that Fiona is enchanted with muteness. Luckily, Autumnstead’s queen recognizes Leah as an imposter (the real Fiona would be caught dead in a dress) and employs her to play the part of princess. The queen also introduces two guards, Tolliver and Faxon, to the overall scheme who will aid Leah in all of her ‘princessly’ responsibilities. While this turn of events ultimately helps Leah, it does provide a unique set of challenges. For example, Leah always has to be aware of who is around her; Leah can only talk to the Queen, Tolliver, and Faxon. However, towards the end of the novel, Leah has not only broken free from her ‘enchantment’ but she is also standing up for herself. Throughout the events of the story, Leah successfully handled numerous situations that were previously off limits for her, like travelling with an unknown man and facing off against the dragon rider and Gerry (more on that later). Leah even confronts Faxon, who just so happens to be the missing Princess Fiona in a glamour, about her actions of abandoning her responsibilities and kingdom. The Leah from the beginning of the novel would not have willingly gone into these types of situations; she wouldn’t even have touched them with a ten-foot pole. As a result of Leah’s magical adventure (without Gerry), Leah transformed from this shy and nervous girl to a brave and confident woman.
Another significant character in Rescuing The Prince is Gerry. Gerry is not only Leah’s boyfriend, but he is also her main source of support. In fact, Leah’s main motivation for surviving her time in the Other World is finding Gerry and returning to California together. However, through the few depictions we receive of their relationship, Gerry does not seem like a greatest person. When Leah is first crushing on Tolliver, she consistently thinks back to specific moments with Gerry. From these flashbacks, Gerry comes off as a complete jerk. He was constantly controlling Leah’s actions and always undermining her opinions and desires. There is one particular interaction (or lack thereof) that seriously irked me. Right before Gerry is supposed to meet with Leah’s parents, Gerry cancels. Why you may ask? Because there was a last-minute opening (opportunity wise) at Portalis Park and since Gerry is obsessed with becoming manager, he needed to take it to help his portfolio. Luckily, my suspicions regarding Gerry were confirmed. When Leah discovers the den of the dragon, with Gerry and the dragon rider inside, she is initially relieved. She finally found him! However, that relief is sadly short-lived. The dragon rider reveals that Gerry is actually from this world and has been her lover for many years. Gerry initially pleads with Leah that those statements are all a lie; that he only loves her. But when it is evident that Leah may not survive the dragon rider’s powers, he immediately switches sides and professes his love for the dragon rider. He even goes as far to say that his time with Leah was all fake. Leah, luckily, escapes before death can reach her, but the damage has been done. Gerry had been betraying her all along. Badly beaten and broken, Leah ends up collapsing in a desert not far from the dragon’s den. However, somehow, she ends up waking up in Princess Fiona’s bed. As it turns out, the dragon rider, suffering from the same heartache from Gerry’s betrayal, saved Leah and placed her in the path of Tolliver and his troops. While Leah’s overall rescue mission was upsetting, it was enlightening due to the fact that it revealed Gerry’s true character; that he is self-serving and unsuitable for love. This revelation not only made me extremely happy, but it also allowed Leah to be free of his overbearing influence.
Overall, Rescuing The Prince was an enjoyable ride. The beginning of the novel was a bit slow, but it definitely made up for it in twists and turns towards the end. The multiple reveals that occurred were not only unexpected but also exciting! They always left me in shock. In addition, some aspects of the story, specifically the magic, could have been explored more. As I previously mentioned, numerous questions were left unanswered. For instance, why does Leah have mirror magic if she is from our world? What exactly can one do with mirror magic? If there is a sequel (which with that ending, there has to be!), I would love to see the magic to be highlighted in more detail. Another rewarding aspect of the story was the romance between Tolliver and Leah. Their attraction could be considered as ‘insta-love’, which is not my favorite, but it works well for Leah and Tolliver. They first develop feelings for each other when Leah is otherwise taken, but do not fully act on those feelings until the end of the novel. Therefore, they have time to get to know each other outside of a romantic relationship. Furthermore, even though I am not always a fan of “insta-love” romances, I am a fan of the subtle hints of affection that come with any romance. Luckily, throughout the novel, Tolliver provides just that. He constantly speaks and acts in a way that suggests his feelings for Leah are more than just friendship. In one particular scene, he puts it upon himself to ensure Leah’s safety in an attack. Unfortunately, it means being separated, but when they are reunited, he reveals how much he was thinking of her while they were apart (swoon). In all, Rescuing The Prince is a wonderful tale for anyone who enjoys magical fantasy (with a dash of dragons) and an enjoyable romance.