Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review of The Princess Bride

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts - The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she'll meet Vizzini - the criminal philosopher who'll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik - the gentle giant; Inigo - the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen - the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup's one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:  3 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience:  Everyone
High point: The "good parts"
Low point:  The commentary
Reader maturity: 13+

I'd never read this book before. Actually, when I saw the movie, it took quite a bit of convincing on the part of my friends that there was really a book. Short version of this review:  Movie trumps book. But movie would not exist without book. Hmmm...

The Princess Bride (the book) is very much like The Princess Bride (the movie):  comedic, dramatic and with a distinct narrative style. Book Buttercup is much more annoying and selfish (I never really got that from movie Buttercup). Book Fezzik, however, shows a deeper, more interesting side than just being "the muscle" like his movie counterpart.

One thing I didn't consistently enjoy, however, was the author's technique of interjecting into the fictional Morgenstern's story. I found the commentary very distracting in its tendency to quickly veer off topic. Some of it was amusing, like informing the reader of certain things in advance so they don't get too worked up and the inclusion of Florinese "trivia," but some places seemed to take it a bit far.

It's a great story to be enjoyed by all. Some of the plot points and humor might go over the heads of younger readers, but that's what allows it to appeal to older readers as well as kids who want swashbuckling, Dread-Pirate-Roberts-type fun. If you've only seen the movie, you might be interested in checking out the origin of The Princess Bride.

Title:  The Princess Bride
Author:  William Goldman
Genre:   Fiction - Fantasy
Year:   1972
Book Source:  Purchased


  1. I also recently read the book and was disappointed. Despite all the wonderful things I'd heard about both book and movie, the novel just didn't seem that funny. I'm watching the movie for the first time tonight, though, so maybe I'll enjoy it more.

  2. I always find it interesting when the book doesn't live up to the movie. However, it does happen on occasion.