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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
The Underground Princess (The Balderdash Saga, Book 1 of Lower Grade Adventure) by J.W. Zulauf is a story about Princess Scarlet who lives in the underground kingdom, Balderdash, under Ashcroft village’s graveyard. Scarlet dreams of falling in love and living happily ever after, but her father, King Hurlock, find her wish nonsensical as they are not humans anymore but resurrected corpses. He worries about her safety a lot, especially when his enemy Maleer constantly tries to dethrone him. However, it seems that Scarlet might get her wish. A prince has died in a hunting accident and will be buried in the Ashcroft graveyard. King Hurlock sees this as an answer to Scarlet’s yearning, where the prince can possibly be her one true love. Unfortunately, Maleer initiates his evil plan and Scarlet has to act quickly to save the kingdom.
The ensemble cast is quirky and compelling, a fantastical depiction of what the existence between life and death would likely be. With a touch of the macabre, The Underground Princess is entertaining and fast-paced; it’s perfect for bedtime reading. It’s also a great book and series to entice reluctant young readers. The cover art and illustrations by Luke Spooner are simply grand. They really complement the story well. While this series may be aimed at 6 to 12-year-olds, it’s no stretch to imagine older readers getting a kick out of the story as well. The Balderdash Saga is unique and stands out from the rest. Simply put, this is an excellent work from Zulauf.