Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.
Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.
Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.
When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest is nuts. If you’re looking for a creepy, twisted mystery look no further! Even though I started figuring out some parts of the mystery pretty quickly, I was still on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happened next. I started reading it one night and stayed up late to finish it because I was so hooked.
The mix of graphic novel and writing worked really well, and I’m glad that they decided to include the actual comic panels. I’ve read books where art plays such an important part to the story, but it’s left to your imagination. Having the actual comic made it so much easier to follow and added a really unique element to the story.
The mystery itself is disturbing. It has a fantastical slant because we learn about it through a fantasy comic staring the titular Princess X, but when you stop to think about the real implications for the characters… yikes. I loved that the danger felt real for May and Libby. This wasn’t a story where you knew everything was going to work out okay. And it also wasn’t a story where the antagonist isn’t willing to go to extremes. It’s made very clear when May starts searching for the answer behind Princess X that someone is willing to kill in order to keep the secret.
When I checked I Am Princess X out from the library, I thought I was getting myself into a a cutesy read based on the cover. NOPE. Instead I got one of the creepiest books I’ve read all year (but not the creepiest – that award goes to S. A. Bodeen’s The Compound if you’re looking for messed up). Go read this book! And make sure you have a free afternoon, because once you start, you won’t want to put it down.