The Prince and the Dressmaker Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-17 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"Do not read this if, like me, you are sick and hormonal because you will cry. I bawled like a ridiculous person reading this, like embarrassing uncontrollable sobbing, but at the same time, it made my queer little heart so, so happy. It's the right story at the right time and has the added benefit of being a super good read on its own, with illustrations that fit so well with the story that I can't imagine them apart. Everyone should read this (but wait until you are not emotionally comprised by your stupid body)." said.


What I Liked

Beautiful Story Of Acceptance. The best thing about this story was the story itself. It is an important story of acceptance that everyone needs to read immediately. Of course, there are some hiccups along the way and not everything is always easy for Prince Sebastian, but the fact that he has a friend in Frances who is there for him and who treats him no differently than she would treat anyone else is the highlight of this story. Through Frances, others begin to see that Prince Sebastian may be different and something that they are not used to, but still learn to accept him for who he is.

The Pacing. This story is so quickly paced. Once I started it, I could not put it down. Some may think that it was quick because it is a graphic novel, but believe me…I have read some graphic novels and comics that were so dry and slow that I couldn’t wait to be done with reading them. That was not the case with The Prince and The Dressmaker! It was beautifully written and the story flowed seamlessly.

The Artwork. I really enjoyed the art style within The Prince and the Dressmaker! It felt really different from the comics and graphic novels that I normally read. I tend to go for art and stories with a darker feel to them whereas this story was a lot lighter and playful. I really enjoyed how the art style worked with the story!

Meeting Jen Wang! I had kept hearing about The Prince and The Dressmaker throughout the online bookish community, so when I heard that Jen Wang was going to be at TCAF (The Toronto Comic Arts Festival) I knew I had to meet her and pick up this graphic novel! She was very kind and I made sure to let her know that everyone has been talking about this story online!


What I Didn’t Like

It’s Obvious Isn’t It? I clearly liked absolutely everything about this graphic novel! I highly recommend that everyone check this one out!


Initial post reading thoughts:

I just picked this one up at TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) after hearing so many good things about it! The author/illustrator was also there and signing copies, so I figured what better time to pick it up than now? I couldn't wait to pick it up and completely breezed through the entire thing! It was absolutely perfect!
" said.

" 4.5 stars. THIS. WAS. ADORABLE. I went more in detail in my blogpost. Thank you so much, 01SecondBooks, for sending it my way! " said.

"The Prince and the Dressmaker was SUPERB! I loved every single page and will definitely be reading anything else that Jen Wang releases (I have already read In Real Life and also thoroughly enjoyed that).

This graphic novel tells the story of Prince Sebastian and Frances (his dressmaker). Having created a rather eye-catching and bold dress for a client, Frances is hired by the Prince to make dresses for his alter ego (Lady Crystallia). No-one knows about the Prince's secret apart from Emile (his manservant) and Frances. What follows is a touching and emotional tale documenting gender identity, self-discovery and friendship.

The dynamic between Prince Sebastian and Frances is beautiful to see - here is a girl whose dresses are visionary for the time period and who only wants to create the best garments she is capable of. Upon learning (very quickly) about the Prince's alter ego, she does not judge and instead fully embraces her role as his dressmaker. They come to care deeply about one another, and the Prince realises Frances is his very best friend - she accepts and loves him for who he is.

Wang's artwork is BEAUTIFUL; the character's expressions, the colour schemes, the attention to detail, ah, I could go on and on.

This has quickly become one of my favourite graphic novels of all time - a simple tale, expertly told and illustrated to perfection. Wonderful!
" said.

"A copy was provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This is not solely a fluffy feel-good cute story, as many reviews describe it. There are lovely and sweet moments in it, but it also has other things going on that may be difficult and painful for trans and/or non-binary readers.

I enjoyed many things about this YA graphic novel. The art was spectacular, really drew me in. The pacing of the story was lovely, just a bit meditative but still compelling. I really fell for both of the MCs and wanted them to find ways to be happy and successful. I was especially rooting for the dressmaker's success.

I loved all the details about the clothes, and the way the dressmaker thought about clothes, her vision for fashion, how much she cared about it. I liked watching her bloom as she had more freedom to do what she wanted to do, and felt for her when she was struggling with the realities of being secretive. I loved watching the prince try on the clothes that felt right, those drawings were so evocative and grabbed my heart.

The prince is genderfluid, I think? It's not completely clear. I'm going to use they/them pronouns to refer to the prince because I'm pretty sure they are non-binary, and the story doesn't happen in a setting where they would have access to neutral pronouns.

There are some really lovely moments where the prince feels seen and supported in their gender, gets excited about presenting feminine, gets celebrated in a gender that they thought they would never be celebrated in. I really appreciated these moments. They were lovely and touching and hit me in the feels.

Unfortunately, for much of the story, the prince is closeted and feels like their non-binary gender is ruining their life and that they can never really be themself and be a monarch. I found the misery and self loathing painful to read, as a non-binary reader.

And then the prince gets deliberately outed as someone who wears dresses, with a series of very classic transmisogynistic tropes. I found this sequence in the story very difficult to read. I am very tired of trans and/or non-binary characters in YA getting outed.

Given the context of the story and it's arc, the happy ending provided felt too easy and pat, and like it was geared much younger than the rest of the story. It basically seemed to present the idea that public performance of acceptance of gender difference would eradicate all transmisogyny and the prince would be free to be themself.

The romance that is included in the happy ending felt unearned, and like it was there to give a reason for the intimacy of the relationship between the prince and their dressmaker, and that made me sad. Supporting someone's gender expression is intimate, and supporting someone to achieve her dream is intimate. This intimacy doesn't need to be romantic, and it felt off to me to frame it as romance.

Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)" said.

"When I first reviewed this, I wrote that I had no plans for a public review, and friends were welcome to PM me for my full thoughts.

...Well, I've changed my mind (although friends are still welcome to PM me ;) ).

First off, here's a little background (spoiler alert, I'm a conservative Christian):

I picked up this book because of the synopsis. Because, upon first glance, it looked like a kid's book (?!?!). And, being a reader who might someday marry a fellow reader and possibly find herself the proud mother of several book-loving offspring, I wanted to get a feel for the politics are being slipped into MG/children's books, today (even though motherhood is a loooong ways away).

Surprisingly, The Prince & the Dressmaker was fairly clean. There was some immodest fashion, drinking, a touch of romance -- and nothing I took as really supportive of homosexuality. But there was the issue of transgenderism. (Is "transgenderism" even a word? Idk. But you get what I mean.)

I do not support those who are transgender. This does not mean that I hate them -- this means that I do not approve of what they're doing.

The Prince & the Dressmaker follows a Parisian summer in the lives of Sebastian (a prince) and Frances (a dressmaker). Frances just wants to become a fashion designer, but Sebastian just wants to be a princess... or a guy who wears dresses. Thus, Frances becomes his private seamstress, and Sebastian dances nights away as the mysterious Lady Crystallia.

This is a story of acceptance, of dreams, and of young love. But this is not a story about helping those in need (and by "helping," I mean love, compassion, understanding, and study).

This isn't a Christian book. It's a political agenda. It's a book that says, "Boys, it's okay to dress up like a girl if you want to!"

I don't agree with that.

I don't want to bog down any brave souls who've managed to make it this far through my review, so I'll leave you with a few verses:

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, He took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
~Genesis 2:20b-22, 24 (NIV)

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers -- and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
~1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV)

A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
~Deuteronomy 22:5 (NIV)

• For those who are like me and prefer to skim, a quick recap: I do not support the practices of homosexuality or being transgender.
I do not hate homosexuals or transgender people -- I simply do not approve of their practices.
• A little digging revealed that The Prince & the Dressmaker by Jen Wang is not MG, but YA; however, it is still marketed as "a fairytale for any age."
• I do not recommend this book. I strongly believe that it fits a political agenda, and while that may appeal to some, such is not the case for me.
• I've done my best with this review. It's probably choppy, wordy, and incomprehensible... but hopefully I'll refine it over time, as I often do.
• I'd really appreciate it if we didn't murder each other in the comments. I don't want to fight -- just like every other Goodreads user, I'm here to express my personal opinion. :)" said.

""I'm a prince who likes dresses."


The Prince and the Dressmaker is a graphic novel I've had my eye on since before it was released, and the premise intrigued me.

In this story, we follow Sebastian: by day, he's the crown prince of Belgium, destined to marry a princess and carry on his family's legacy. But by night, he's Lady Crystallia, the hottest fashion icon in Paris.

Sebastian hires Frances, a young girl with incredible talent, to be his seamstress. She's his best friend and the only one who knows his secret, but Frances has big dreams. She wants to make a name for herself in the fashion world, but how long can Frances ignore her dreams to help her friend?

I absolutely adored this.

To start, the art style is beautiful. The colors are vibrant and fun, and the character designs were perfect. Jen Wang really brought 19th century Paris to life, and I was completely sucked in.

I'm in love with the characters. Sebastian and Frances are so freakin' adorable, and the dresses?? BEAUTIFUL.

The fact that this graphic novel exists makes me so happy. It wonderfully explores gender norms, and I love how our characters are coming to know themselves and accept who they are. I teared up towards the end.

It's joyous and heartwarming and oh so important. Sure, is the ending completely realistic? No, not really. But do I give a shit? NOPE, BECAUSE IT WAS LOVELY.

I just...need more!! *cries*

If you're looking for a graphic novel with a wonderful message and delightful characters, please pick this up. I loved this so much, and I think so many of you will too.
" said.

"I received an ARC of this book from Rich in Variety Tours in exchange for an honest review.

You can call me... Lady Crystallia.



When I was young, I loved reading The Smurfs and Geronimo Stilton graphic novels. They are so colorful, the stories are so captivating, and aaaahh I just LOVED the way of storytelling through drawings and speech bubbles. For a long time I forgot about graphic novels - I got a Kindle, and reading graphic novels on the device was really inconvenient. The Prince and the Dressmaker was my first graphic novel in a loooooong time - and made me fall in love with the genre all over again.

Jen's drawings are amazing. The colors are so vibrant + I love the character's outfits so much! <3 Just... look at this.

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December 2018 New Book:

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