Title: I am Princess X
Author: Cherie Priest
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: May 26th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Mystery
Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the stories, and Princess X fought monsters, ghosts, and other assorted creeepazoids from her haunted house high on a hill.
Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across a bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.
Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window−a figure in a gold crown, pink dress, red Chucks, and a long katana sword…
Suddenly, May sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more shocking connections she finds between Libby’s death and Princess X’s adventures. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.
Illustrated throughout with the Princess X webcomic, I am Princess X is a mystery, wrapped in friendship story, bound up with a cyberthiller…and all-around awesome.
My First Thoughts:
I found this book while on vacation with my boyfriend and his family. It was in this awesome bookstore that has everything you could want for reading at the beach! Anyways, my boyfriend has recently been educating me about comics and giving me some of comics to read, since I loved the recent Marvel movies and wanted to know more about their universe. So when I saw this book with Princess X as the main heroine of a comic made by two best friends, I decided that I would give it a try!
This story follows two protagonists from two different backgrounds that come together to solve the greatest mystery of the decade: Who is Princess X? And who is the Needle Man that is chasing after her?
The first character that you’re introduced to is May, one of the original creators of Princess X, and a girl from the South who claims to have a southern accent, but it doesn’t really show in the dialogue. When she and her best friend Libby were younger, they created a heroine of their own and named her Princess X. Together they wrote all kinds of adventures for the princess that is until Libby died. And Princess X died with her. After that, May changed as she bounced from one home to the other, trying to move on but hold onto her dead best friend at the same time. Then, at seventeen, May happens upon Princess X once more and tries to find the creator behind the comics, knowing that it had to be Libby. However, May’s computer skills are about average, so she has to rely on an IT guy to help her for a little more than six dollars.
Patrick, or more commonly called Trick, is a young hacker straight out of high school and preparing to go to college. He’s supposed to be a genius with computers, even won a full ride to the college he was looking for. However, after a bad break up with his girlfriend, he hacked into his school’s systems and changed her grades so that she would have to take summer classes. Being a genius it should have been cake, right? Wrong. He got caught pretty quickly and lost his scholarship to the college he wanted to go to and got into some trouble with the police, seemingly to keep it all away from his mother and her boyfriend. So now he has to work to get enough money to pay for the college’s tuition, even considering some of the seedier sides of the internet.
Together the two search for clues hidden in the comic and all over Seattle Washington. This story is about mystery and friendship. If you’re looking for romantic love, you won’t find it here.
This story was okay, though honestly it took me a while to read, and not just because of the homework shoved my way. I was easily distracted from the book, and after the first few chapters, the book didn’t hold much of my interest any more. I also didn’t agree with some of the things that happened in the book. The author seemed to really opinionated, especially when it came to anime and the authorities. I didn’t particularly agree with the comment she made about anime, mostly because I’m an avid anime watcher, and let me tell you, it isn’t all about ninjas and upholding honor…That’s just no. And the cops in this book were made out to be very incompetent. They may be useless in Seattle, I don’t know, but at least make them more realistic than worthless, rotten to the core, nose-pickers.
There were also some things that were mentioned that made me question the reality of the book and its setting. I’m not sure if something like the darknet actually exists, but I really doubt that a recently graduated high school hacker could or would get his hands on the equipment to get hom to the ‘shadier side’ of the internet. I also really don’t know why he would have the need to go to such a place, if it really is incriminating and ‘dangerous’. And for a supposed genius, Trick seemed to make a lot of mistakes during his hacking in the book, a lot more than I would be comfortable with if I were May. Also, May is supposed to be from the South, however you couldn’t really tell by the way she talked only that at times a character would say, ‘ohyou’re your accent is thick’. If you’re going to have a ‘Southern’ character or a character from any place really, they should show something of an accent in the dialogue or even use common slang or idioms/phrases from the place their from. Otherwise it makes the character a bit flat, like a dish that tried to be seasoned but not completely, and it makes the author look lazy. And as someone from a Southern state, I would not have identified May as ‘Southern’ if it weren’t for two instances of her accent being described as ‘thick’.
The interactions between the characters at times were stale and unnatural, sometimes leaving a nasty taste in your mouth, like when you get heart burn or eat something a little questionable. I guess you could label May and Trick as friends, but you really don’t see any development on that relationship, or at least there really wasn’t any change in how they interacted with each other. Some of the actions were also a bit unrealistic. Like being able to outrun a car, or not picking up your daughter after you found out that someone tried to kill her because she’s looking for her dead best friend. I’m actually surprised the father stayed quiet and didn’t say a word to the police.
Honestly, the best part of this book was the comic that they drew to show what May was reading. I thought that was very clever, and it actually got me to finish the book because I was more interested in how the comic would play out. Without it, this book would have been a lot more painful to read. Mostly, because of the author’s opinions and the writing style.
There was many times that the action scenes just didn’t feel heart racing enough. The sentences were really long, and there were actually a lot of descriptions from the characters when they should have been more focused running. Seriously, I don’t need to know what so-and-so looked like, what nameless background character did in the far right corner, or about the bloody weather. If it was important to the current action sequence, fine that’s alright, other than that those long drag out sentences really pull a reader out of the action. I know that I found a lot of the action scenes a little boring or to wordy.
Some of the descriptions were lacking when it was okay to talk about them. A lot of the character descriptions were done right when you meet them, and then their appearances were barely touched afterwards. After a while, the characters kind of get grey-washed in your mind, at least in mine. However, there were also times of too much detail, like when a play sets up the next scene and there’s lots of description on how it should look and feel in the stage directions. The author kind of did that here when we changed locations, but then there wasn’t much detail after that.
This book was about average on my scale. There were parts of the story that really grabbed my attention, like the sections of the Princess X webcomic. However, there were many things that I either didn’t agree with or didn’t sit well with me, and it made me question the reality of the book. As mysteries go, it was alright. There were plenty of riddles and things for the readers to think about and try to solve on their own. The writer’s style just didn’t agree with me. The pacing was slow, even in the action scenes, the rate of descriptions was off, and the interactions between the characters at times didn’t make sense or were unrealistic and stale.
Maybe her adult books are better written; honestly I hope so because a lot of people seem to like the author. Me on the other hand, this wasn’t the greatest first impressions, and I want to read more about the Princess X character. And yes, I can be a picky reader at times, who isn’t?