Saturday Woodcutter is tired of being the lone ordinary child among her magically gifted siblings. Even with an enchanted sword to call her own, Saturday fears she is never destined to have a great adventure like her sister Sunday or travel the world like her sister Thursday. The idea of Saturday ever being the stuff of songs and ballads like her older brother Jack is downright laughable.
Then Saturday accidentally creates an ocean outside of the Woodcutter family home and sets sail on a pirate ship.
Unfortunately, Saturday’s first adventure is cut short when a witch kidnaps her. Saturday is whisked to the Top of the World and embroiled in the witch’s evil plans. Even with her magic sword and sensible thinking, Saturday isn’t certain she has what it takes to stop the witch and save herself–let alone anyone else. But she is certain that she has to try in Hero (2013) by Alethea Kontis.
Hero is a sequel/companion to Kontis’ earlier novel Enchanted. (Enchanted was Sunday Woodcutter’s adventure. And while the same characters feature and references are made to the events of Enchanted in Hero, you could probably read this one without reading the first book and still enjoy it.)
Hero is full of the wit and nods to familiar tales that readers of Enchanted will expect. This time around Kontis also creates a tighter narrative with smoother plotting and more surprising twists (including a very surprising one at the end!). Peregrine is an excellent foil for Saturday. The two together are as memorable as they are formidable. Their unlikely pairing also provides ample opportunities for gender bending as traditional roles are flipped or just thrown out the window.
Saturday is a great heroine. She is tough, surly and she hates all things romantic. (Don’t even get her started on magic and all the trouble it causes.) She is also massively tall and often rude and obnoxious to strangers (or relatives . . . or friends). Which is to say that Saturday is an incredibly human protagonist. She makes quite a few mistakes throughout the story and she carries more than her share of guilt over said mistakes. But at the same time she is proactive and selfless in a way that heroines don’t always get to be when a fairy tale atmosphere comes into play.
Hero is another excellent installment in the Woodcutter Sisters story and a mandatory read for anyone looking for an antidote to the typical princess story. With a central arc that resolves nicely Hero still promises even more adventure and mayhem to come for the kingdom of Arilland and the Woodcutter family.
Possible Pairings: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, The Selection by Kiera Cass, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and Chris Hale, The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones,Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp, A Well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde
*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*