A Modern Conclusion to a Classic Fairy Tale

YA Fantasy Book Review| The Return Of King Lillian by Suzie Plakson

Pilmsthistle & Co. Publishers ▪️July 9, 2019▪️390 pgs

In bookstores today!!

Dear Reader,

Have you ever wondered what happened after the child declared that the Emperor wore no clothes when no one else dared?  Who was this brave child, and what happened to the Emperor and his Kingdom?  King Lillian answers all those questions and more.  A multi-layered fairy tale with a depth that can easily be overlooked; it reminds me of other classics such as The Little Prince that are similar in style and tone as well as providing lessons to learn and discuss.

What I liked:

The tone and style of writing — diary style that was part prose and part poetry. It took some getting used to, but by the end, I appreciated that an aspiring poet would write this way in their journal – trying out some poetic verses and then going back to the more comfortable prose.

King Lillian comes with a big message; the message of doing what’s right rather than what’s easy. Lillian travels the whirld (world) and is faced time after time with hard decisions. Just as with her decision to tell the King he wasn’t wearing any clothes, she always picks the less popular path of doing and saying the right thing. In a society that likes to shame people into following their world view, this is a critical lesson and one that should be discussed with kids today.

In typical fairy tale fashion, the story left you with the hope that things will be different. As the reader gets closer to the end, it isn’t certain that it will end with hope for a better tomorrow, but ultimately, King Lillian delivers. As the title suggests, Lillian is no ordinary ruler in a less than ordinary land. The fact that she takes in the title “king” rather than the traditional title feminized, piques interest and stimulates the imagination.

What I Wish:

I wish I had been better prepared when I began the book for the journey I was about to embark. There is so much to savor and enjoy about this novel, and I feel like I did not get the full appreciation as I struggled to figure out how to label this book – what category to place it. The fact that the title is King Lillian should have told me to sit back and enjoy the ride as this was not a book that was going to fit into any preconceived category.

I also wish that parents will read this to younger kids and have discussions about Lillian’s choices. This story is a perfect read-aloud book with important lessons to learn – lessons that should start earlier than the books intended audience.

To Read or Not to Read:

This book is worth reading for all – adults and young adults – and I would recommend it to parents as a read-aloud book for younger children along with discussion. It’s a classic fairy tale for the modern age and should not be overlooked! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

I have provided links to popular booksellers for your convenience:


Barnes and Noble

Your local bookstore

It is also available from Apple Books with the app

3 Replies to “A Modern Conclusion to a Classic Fairy Tale”

  1. What an unusual story. As a child, I devoured fairy tales. As an adult I came to appreciate them more for the messages than the magic, though some of those messages from early childhood still linger strongly today.

    Gorgeous cover, and intriguing title. A great review. It definitely sounds like a book that will appeal to multiple age groups.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I too still remember the messages from the fairy tales that were read to me. Some were pretty scary but they got their message across.

      Liked by 1 person

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