The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw, by Christopher Healy (a response as opposed to a measured, critical review)

There are retold fairy tales, there are fractured fairy tales, and then there are stories that might once have said hi to fairy tales in passing but then went on to have rich, vivid, lives of their own.   The Hero's Guide series, by Christopher Healy, is of the later sort--sure, the characters might have started in fairy tales, but they soon transcended the destinies written for them in the original stories. 

You don't want to read The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw (Walden Pond Press,April 29, 2014) until you've read the first to books (guides to Saving the Kingdom and Storming the Castle).  And you don't want to read much about the plot of this one here and now, because it's really best just to read the book. So I shall just describe it in general terms:

Silly.  Fun. Tremendously entertaining.   Pirates, but not so much as to make those who don't like pirates feel burdened.  Likable characters who you want to shake from time to time.  And interesting adventure that asks the reader not so much to suspend disbelief, but to leave it at exit 8 of New Jersey Turnpike (that's where we stop and spend the night on the way to Grandma's at Christmas, which is irrelevant).

Oh, I was doubtful, back when I started the first Hero's Guide.  What manner of farce is this, I asked myself.   My doubts faded in the bright light (or something) of Christopher Healy's rollicking (nod to pirates, who I think of as rollicking) prose, and reading the third book was just plain old relaxing fun, interspersed by bits of me rolling my eyes at some of the characters (in a friendly sort of way).

Though the "hero" bit implies a masculine focus, it's the female characters who actually have the sense, the skills, and the smarts to get things done.  So don't be afraid to give this to handy girls as well as the perhaps more obvious handy boys.

disclaimer:  review copy received from the publisher


  1. I love this review. But I hate pirates.

  2. I'm so excited to finish the series. People have been liking this one.

  3. Love your descriptions, "what farce is this? and "transcend their destinies." I really need to get back to the second, I loved the humor.


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