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Review: A Tale of Two Princes

A Queer Mashup of The Prince and The Pauper meet the Parent Trap

A Tale of Two Princes

by Eric Geron

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"Being a top-secret boyfriend really takes it toll on a person. But getting constantly teased isn't so great either, even if it is the lesser of the two evils.."

The Tale of Two Princes is a queer mashup of The Prince and The Pauper with a sprinkle of The Parent Trap. Billy is a rancher from a small town in Montana who's been out for a while. But secretly, he dreams of leaving it all behind to study music at Julliard. Edward is the Crown Prince of the Canadian monarchy who is firmly in the closet because of his position in life. Hijinx ensues when the two unexpectedly meet in New York City.

As an adult reader, this book was fun but flawed. Once I put on my middle-grade hat (I think this book is miscategorized as a YA read), the read became much more enjoyable. For example, what I consider poor world-building are most likely details that a ten-year-old cares nothing about. As an adult, I'm taken out of the story when seventeen-year-olds stay at a Hilton in New York City sans chaperone. I doubt that sort of thing would even register with a young audience. I want to know why Canada instated a monarchy; a middle-grade reader will probably take it at face value that a Canadian monarchy exists.

The events in this book are often outrageous, but there is also a certain authenticity. The characters respond to things in ways that make sense based on who they are and what they've been through. Edward's feelings about being replaced are valid and understandable, especially given his initial role in upholding the monarchy. Billy has been given the freedom to be who he is, partially because he wasn't famous. While Billy was undeniably more likable as a character, there was a certain relatability to Edward. Most readers won't ever experience what it's like to be royalty. Still, the feeling of trying to find your footing while being your authentic self is something most have experienced at one point or another.

The pacing is good, although the argument could be made the ending was a bit rushed. I thought the "Maple Rules" were a great way to clue the reader into royal expectations without being pedantic. I liked that the supporting characters were diverse without feeling forced. The author did an excellent job exploring identity language and changes that might take place during that self-discovery.

All in all, this was a good read with a touch of humor and a great message about being true to yourself.

A Tale of Two Princes come out January 10, 2023.