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Friday, August 14, 2015

"Princess Ugg: Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh" (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)





Visit Ted Naifeh's Website here

OVERVIEW: Princess Ülga isn't your standard princess, but her royal lineage goes back for generations. At her mother's bequest, Ülga travels to the city-state of Atraesca, where the prestigious Princess Academy lies, so that she can learn about things like diplomacy--hopefully for the benefit of her rough and tumble people. But Ülga will learn that she's more behind in her studies than she realized--and that when you're a princess, you're bound to have a few enemies.

FORMAT: Princess Ugg: Volume 1 is a collection of YA graphic novels. It stands at 120 pages and was published November 26, 2014 by Oni Press.

ANALYSIS: I've always been fond of Ted Naifeh's work. Courtney Crumrin and Polly & the Pirates were some of my favorite graphic novel reads within the past few years. Each of the books published has a detailed story, wonderful characters, and amazing artwork. So, it was no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to read Naifeh's newest work, Princess Ugg.

Princess Ugg: Volume 1 introduces readers to the rough and tumble, yet lovable Princess Ulga of the Grimmerians (who are like Vikings but with a thick accent). Princess Ulga's mother passed away, but before she did she asked her daughter to try and find an alternative solution for the war with the Frost Giants. Ulga feels that she can stop the war, but only if she becomes a true princess. To become a true princess, she travels to a prestigious princess school where she hopes to find the answers she seeks.

The graphic novel details Ulga's struggles to fit in with the other girls and to work to stop the upcoming war. It isn't an easy path Ulga has chosen, but it is one that may prove helpful and valuable in the long run. The other princesses mock her, play mean tricks on her, and refuse to allow her to become a part of their prestigious groups.

When I first started reading Princess Ugg, it was a bit difficult. The characters talk with an almost Scottish brogue and there was a talking raven who spoke in a mythology-like tone. The two different writing styles almost had me giving up, but this graphic novel really hit its stride about 25% of the way into it and I absolutely fell in love with it.

The outline and summary of Princess Ugg may make it sound like just your average rough girl turns pretty princess story, but it really isn't. Naifeh puts his own unique twist on this standard tale and really makes it his own. It is packed with humor that isn't over the top or absurd, adventure, and a great plot.   

The entire story surrounding Princess Ugg may not be overly unique or complex, but it has that special take that really makes a reader love the characters. By the end of the story, I was hooked and can't wait to read more. I think what finally 'hooked' me on this story was that it isn't your average graphic novel. It isn't a Marvel graphic novel or a manga; it is just a unique graphic novel that is well-written and beautifully illustrated.

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