This princess can shave herself! The hilarious bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes are back with a new adventure in the irreverent world of Pell.
Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses.
When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails—which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise.
This is not a story about finding true love’s kiss—it's a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong.
But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there’s Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there’s Tempest, who’s determined to become the first dryad lawyer—preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They’re joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn’archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you’ve got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!
In this new escapade set in the magical land of Pell, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly skewer the tropes of fairy tales and create a new kind of fantasy: generous, gently humorous, and inclusive. There might also be otters.
In the proudly lowbrow third volume of the satirical Tales of Pell (after No Country for Old Gnomes), Dawson and Hearne turn to the high seas as their unlikely heroes become even less likely pirates. Captained by the talking parrot Filthy Lucre, the crew of the Puffy Peach set out for adventure and treasure. Among them are Morgan, a princess who kept the beard she grew during an enchanted sleep; Vic, a centaur whose overbearing toxic masculinity is at odds with his ability to conjure tea and pastries; and Tempest, a dryad who wants to be a lawyer. As they sail the crimson tides of the Myn Seas (populated by tampooners) and brave the dangers of all-night eateries, they challenge gender roles in fantasy and skewer social trends, attacking targets as varied as Harry Potter and gym culture with a dizzying array of bad jokes and puns. ("I am an expert seaman of the Morningwood, and I've got a lot of spunk," claims Alobartalus, a disgruntled elf in search of a new destiny.) The sheer quantity of sophomoric humor threatens to drown out an entertaining plot filled with callbacks to previous volumes and satisfying emotional journeys for the protagonists. This is a clever send-up of fantasy tropes and modern culture, but it often tries a little too hard.