REVIEW: The Prince and the Dressmaker

Title: The Prince and the Dressmaker
Author: Jen Wang
Genre(s):  Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Comics
Release: February 2018
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

"My whole life is other people deciding what is acceptable.
When I put on a dress, I get to decide what's silly."

So, as you all know, in between all my romantic and fantasy reads, I tend to love the occasional graphic novel or manga series to switch it up. I'd been out hunting this gorgeous book numerous of times (I even traveled to the other side of the country to look for it!) but no such luck. When my mom got me this copy for Christmas, I was ECSTATIC! I couldn't wait to dive into this beautiful gem of a book.

What is this book about?
The Prince and the Dressmaker is set in late 19th century France, and centers around the Belgian prince Sebastian, whose time to find a bride is running out. Sebastian, however, isn't too bothered by it because he is hiding something no one at court can ever find out; he likes to dress up as Lady Crystallia. Enter his best friend and the royal dressmaker Frances, who dreams of nothing more than for her creations to be discovered. Frances starts making dresses for Lady Crystallia in secret, but how long can this secret last?

"Seeing you, I realized everything would be fine.
Because someone still loved him."

What did I think about this book?
I thought this book was insanely and terribly cute, but it also bore such a good message. The Prince and the Dressmaker, much like other graphic novels, was such a fast and breezy read. The story had a very fairytale-like vibe to it, but that's the intention of the author, I suspect. I absolutely adored this book, from the story to the art; the art style was so cute. The color schemes, the cartoon-ish character designs and the beautiful backgrounds, really add to the story. I cannot stress this enough, but this was honestly such a gorgeous and adorable book!

Content-wise, I loved the message behind this. I know opinions are divided on if this book can be categorized as LGBT fiction, because there is no explicit mention of Sebastian being trans, NB, genderfluid, queer. But I think the message behind this will resonate with a lot of people nonetheless. I love how this book took the general fairytale trope and molded it into something so contemporary and fresh. I LOVED IT. I also think this book is suitable for all ages, even thought it is advertised as YA.

The only downside of this book is that there is a forced coming-out scene in this book, which can be triggering and confrontational. I can't speak for people who have gone through these experiences, which is why this review is purely based on my own personal opinions!

All, in all, I loved this graphic novel and I think this might be my favorite one I have read thus far. The combination of the fairytale elements, the gorgeous and original art style, and the original message made this read incredibly enjoyable for me. I was left with a warm and fuzzy feeling and the topics at hand are so important. I highly recommend this and I look forward to reading more of Jen Wang's work!

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