Date: 2019-01-30 08:36 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hippogriff13
Yes, there's somewhat less emphasis on the Strong Female Character Who Succeeds By Physically Kicking Ass in subsequent volumes of "Princeless," as the original princess-turned-knight (Adrienne?) and her blacksmith/weapons-maker buddy go around trying to break Adrienne's sisters out of their respective tower prisons. As I recall, a fair amount of those volumes (at least the ones I've read) actually consist of character development of the sisters, neither of whom are the stereotypical Strong Female Character ass-kicking type. One is a Goth who's somewhat disconcerted when it turns out her love interest may be a genuine vampire, and another is a glamour-girl type whom guys routinely fall in love with, but who at this point is bored enough with being romantically gushed over that she's more intrigued by the idea of making actual female friends--if she can figure out how.

I like the series a lot better than you seem to, but I think one problem with it is that writer Jeremy Whitley started out with a lot of good and determinedly stereotype-breaking intentions, but didn't really think some of the underpinnings of the story through enough. For instance, Adrienne's father behaves the way he does more because the plot requires him to than because it really makes sense in terms of his supposed character. He's obsessed with locking his daughters up in towers in order to find suitable mates for them, in the form of princes or knights capable of springing them from imprisonment. But he's apparently supposed to be a fairly decent person/ruler otherwise (except for making his one son feel somewhat inadequate for not being particularly good at knightly activities), and he doesn't seem to realize that a) locking your daughters up in towers makes you come across like an unreasonable misogynist tyrant, and b) the attract-suitable-sons-in-law aspect of the plan is a miserable failure anyway, since the only person capable of getting past the dragon-guarded towers so far is some (ahem) unidentified knight whom the king thinks must have killed or kidnapped Adrienne, since afterward she simply disappears instead of returning to the palace with her triumphal rescuer in tow. (Of course, this is because the unidentified knight actually *is* Adrienne, who naturally enough considers it counterproductive to let her father know that she escaped by herself and has no intention of cooperating further with his Disney princess-ish plans for her future.)

Whitley has gone on to write quite a bit of other girl-centric stuff, from various installments of the "My Little Pony" comic book to the "Princeless" spin-off "Raven the Pirate Princess," which is probably less encumbered by incompletely-digested clunky fairy-tale tropes (although I've only glanced through it so far, so I can't be certain). His Marvel work on "The Unstoppable Wasp" (a retconned-in teenage legacy heroine who was brought up in the mad-science division of Black Widow's Red Room assassin/spy school, but is unquenchably cheerful, upbeat, and relentless in her enthusiasm for recruiting other young women to do science--and fight super-villains--with her) integrates its obvious ideological goal (in this case, showing that girls and STEM fields are a match made in heaven) into the characters and story a lot more seamlessly than the initial installments of "Princeless" do.
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