Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite
Princess Spatlina is a beautiful princess, even though her head is bald. She lives in the perfect kingdom of the Satisfied Land where her parents, the King and Queen, and its many unique ministers consulted around the not-so-round round table. The princess knew that one day a handsome prince would come riding up to the castle on a beautiful horse.
When that day arrives, the princess’s initial sense of awe, wonder and, yes, love, at the sight of the dashing young Prince Usab on his white horse, Roger, is dashed by the destructive arrival of a military force that decimates her kingdom’s prized frogs. Overshadowed by a dashing military officer who captures the princess’s attention, the prince leaves the kingdom of the Satisfied Land to find a purpose in his life.
Sit back in your reading chair and immerse yourself in a tale of improbable circumstances and let your imagination run rampant. The story that follows is not the typical happily-ever-after, princess meets prince saga. Justine Rachael Kelly’s unique and rather unusual fairy tale, The Grand Adventure of Prince Usab and His Horse Roger, is a playful series of impossibilities and sometimes humorous trivial anecdotes as the prince and his horse venture on a journey with no particular destination in mind.
Like Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the prince and his horse meet unusual creatures and endure equally unusual circumstances, but, in the end, they both realize that every life, even their lives, needs a purpose and that life is a journey, often one of unusual happenings, rather than a destination. The story reads like an improbably fairy tale, but it’s also very much a satire on humanity and the human condition, much like Gulliver’s Travels. Very cleverly done.