Book: THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER
Author: Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Format: eBook (graphic novel)
ARC?: Yes, provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: 2/13/2018
TW/CW: being outed without consent
Rep: Non-gendered clothing. I wasn’t sure how to label this because it’s never explicitly stated that the Prince is genderfluid, but they do sometimes feel like wearing “masculine clothing” and sometimes they feel like wearing “feminine clothing” and being referred to as a woman.
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?
I’m usually not a fan of graphic novels. I can count the graphic novels I’ve read on one hand, but when I saw the summary of THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER, I knew this was one that I definitely wanted to read… and I was not disappointed.
The art is beautiful in this book. Not just the characters and scenery, but also the dresses that Frances creates for Lady Crystallia. I spent a ton of time just looking at each panel, admiring the art.
This does have romance in it, which was something I did not expect. Generally when you have a character that is genderfluid but was deemed male at birth, their creator has them be attracted to people who were also deemed male at birth. It was AMAZING to see Frances and Sebastian slowly fall for each other, and I think it’s a good reminder for people who are not apart of the Queer community (and even some that are) that “dressing as a woman” doesn’t equal “gay”.
There is a lot of self exploration in this book. Not just from Sebastian/Crystallia, but also from Frances. It was great to see Frances stick up for herself. She wanted to protect Sebastian and understood why they did what they did, but still knew that it wasn’t fair to her. It was a good commentary on how we can understand that something may be good for our friends, but it isn’t good for us and we’re allowed to leave situations that hurt us.
The ending was spectacular! I think I screamed during the fashion show scene and I can’t wait until this comes out so I can make the king my profile picture.
If you’re a fan of gender noncomformity, friends turned something more, and people discovering who they are, this cute graphic novel is for you!