In this retelling of “The Brave Little Tailor,” a young woman comes to the rescue of a city that’s besieged by giants.
Saville, a tailor’s daughter, picks up the ruined pieces of her family’s livelihood after her father suffers an apoplexy that leaves him unable to speak, let alone sew. She masquerades as a boy to secure a commission from the king. Nearby villages have suffered attacks by giants led by a duke who describes himself as “Heir to the Ancient Emperor’s crown, Holder of the Eternal Heart.” When two giants appear at the city’s gates, Saville sees Will, a waif she’s taken under her wing, dangling from their hands. Like the tailor in the Grimms’ folk tale, Saville outwits the giants and is declared champion by the king—who promises his sister’s hand in marriage to the champion before finding out who she is. Saville uses her ingenuity to get both self and city out of trouble, with the help of a handsome young nobleman and Will. McGuire uses familiar European folk-tale motifs as the bare-bones backdrop for a lively adventure story with some surprising twists. Characters are fully developed through Saville’s engaging first-person voice, but it’s clever Saville herself who wins the day—and the heart of the nobleman.
A charming, satisfying first novel. (Fantasy. 10-14)