The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Genre: YA Graphic Novels, Sequential Art, LGBTQIA+
Publication: February 13th 2018 from First Second Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 288 pages
Format: e-Galley from Fierce Reads
Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!
Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.
Huge thanks to my friends from First Second Books / Fierce Reads for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour they’re hosting for this title and for sending an e-Galley in exchange for an honest review. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.
I can’t even begin to express just how excited and honored I am to be talking about my first ever graphic novel review here on Book Freak Revelations. When my friends from First Second Books sent me an invitation to join their blog tour for Jen Wang’s newest work, I knew there was no other answer but YES! Now, read on for a detailed review of The Prince and The Dressmaker.
(Please take note that I am in no means an expert in reviewing graphic novels, as this is my first time giving my thoughts on one, and I’m not used to tackling this specific medium of literature.)
Before I was invited to be a part of this blog tour, I already did my research about The Prince and The Dressmaker and what I loved most about it is the whole premise of the story. Most of the comics that I read fall under the Fantasy and / or the Sci-fi genre, and this is the first time I came to read a contemporary and so this really did raise my standards in reading graphic novels. Also, I’ve never felt so lighthearted while reading a novel and it made me feel so well represented as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, not that it really has that big a bearing on the book’s overall credibility, I just wanted to share. *laughs*
The art style that the author (or artist?) used to bring life into this story was also noteworthy, and I understandably fell in love with the overall feel of the novel because of this. From the posh palace interiors to the breathtaking dresses that the young and ambitious Frances designed, everything was so intricately and beautifully drawn, I honestly can’t help but take a few seconds to take in the beauty and appreciate the book. And to get to know the Jen Wang’s process in the end was like the cherry on top of this sweet yet deliciously served story.
Lastly, I want to highlight how good the story’s ending was, in my opinion. I felt like unlike many other stories, the ending to this one perfectly wrapped everything up, leaving readers with a light and satisfied heart. And with this story’s ending came my realization that books like these, ones that are relevant and extremely important especially for young readers, can help shape our future generations. It can help mold a reading environment that can be deemed as safe and productive. And I, personally, want to be a part of a progressive community that could somehow support and champion stories such as The Prince and The Dressmaker.
“Jen Wang’s The Prince and The Dressmaker focuses on a friendship that is formed when two unlikely characters, from completely different worlds, meet at such an opportune time. It talks about highly relevant topics, partnered with a story that is as heartfelt as it is delightful to read. All in all, the author’s attempt at bringing Frances and Sebastian’s story to life will easily give readers of all ages a reading experience that is entirely unique and enjoyable.”
As for my favorite panel of the graphic novel…
This page happens to be my favorite, where Frances first sees her friend, Prince Sebastian (or in this scene, known as Lady Crystallia), wearing a gown that she made. And I love how this scene made me feel, that you can be whatever you want to be, as long as you’re not stepping down on anyone. Also, have you seen the ELEGANCE? I mean… *shrugs* The book is filled with amazing dresses and other art forms such as this one, which is why I highly enjoyed reading The Prince and the Dressmaker by.
Have YOU read a graphic novel that’s as wonderfully drawn and written as The Prince and The Dressmaker by Jen Wang? Let me know via the comments section below! Also, be sure to check out this stunning new graphic novel from First Second Books!
Jen Wang is a cartoonist, a writer, and an illustrator based in Los Angeles. She’s also a co-founder and organizer for Los Angeles based comics festival Comic Arts LA. Her clients include Macmillan, Abrams Books, Penguin Random House, The Believer, Hazlitt, Slate, Los Angeles Magazine, GIPHY, Portland Mercury, and Apartment Therapy. You may reach out to her via Twitter or Instagram.
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