Princeless has proved a phenomenal success for Jeremy Whitley, running to nine volumes so far, not including spin-offs, and it doesn’t take too long to realise why that is, as the foundations are solid. Whitley’s taken a look at fairy tales, noted the gender stereotyping, patronising attitudes, implausibility and lack of diversification and decided to put that right. Princess Adrienne is dark skinned, not lillywhite, from an early age she’s picked holes in fairy tales, and when at seventeen she’s the one stuck in a tower with a dragon to dissuade any suitors she’s not going to put up with that crap.

An early example of the smart solutions characterising Princeless is Adrienne escaping by pointing out to the dragon guarding the tower that its only real purpose is to die when slain by a successful suitor. That achieved, she sets off on a mission to rescue her six sisters, also imprisoned in towers.

Artist M. Goodwin draws a nice dragon, and to begin with the people have a personality, although right from the start the backgrounds are basic. The longer Save Yourself continues, though, the more basic the art becomes, and toward the end some pages have the look of roughs about them. It’s probably for the best that a new artist is in place for Get Over Yourself.

As this is fantasy, perhaps a few diversions are to be expected, but it’s disappointing that Adrienne escapes, sets a purpose, and then never gets around to it. Also down to Whitley being a novice writer is his pacing requiring adjustment. Some scenes are too long, while others could do with some expansion. This isn’t quite professional material, but it’s a spirited start, which counts for a lot. Adrienne is very likeable, the jokes about what women fantasy characters wear are funny, and Princeless is a consistently improving series over the next few volumes.