Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fantasy: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date: 1972
Format: paperback
Source: blog giveaway
Read: for fun
Pages: 400
Reading time: four days

From GoodReads: 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.

My review: I really, really wanted to love The Princess Bride. I've heard nothing but good things about it - the storytelling, the adventure, the humor, the characters, everything - but in the end, my expectations were underwhelmed. There were some funny bits (I especially liked the metafictional asides and the historical comments in parentheses), but overall, I just didn't catch on to Goldman's tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. I did enjoy the characters, however, as all their personalities and quirks were interesting and entertaining. The story was engaging enough, but I didn't catch the point of the short sequel Buttercup's Baby that seemed to be both truncated and extraneous. An enjoyable read, but I just didn't find it as special as most others have.

For other humorous pseudo-medieval adventure tales, I'd recommend Swords for Hire by Will Allen (2003). I'm also going to guess that both of these books would go great with Monty Python.

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