It’s time for another Book Trailer Review, where we judge a book based on its trailer, not its cover. Today we’re looking at A Hero’s Curse by P.S. Broaddus. (Don’t know what a book trailer is? Check out our book trailer guide.)
The story: a drought has consumed the Kingdom of Mar for nearly a decade. Essie, a teenaged blind girl, and her family struggle to survive on their small farm nestled against the forbidding cliffs of the Valley of Fire. King Mactogonii has been mysteriously missing for over a year, replaced by the cruel and brutal usurper Brogan, and things get worse than ever when Essie’s parents are taken to the slave camps. Then, Essie learns that King Mactogonii may still be alive. With the help of her sassy talking cat Tig, Essie must find the courage to journey to the Valley of Fire to help the rightful king.
I want to cut this trailer some slack, since it’s clearly a self-publishing project on a bare-bones budget. So let’s manage our expectations going in: there won’t be any jaw-dropping special effects or camera work here. The acting and production quality aren’t particularly great. But does it draw us into the world of the story and make us want to read the book?
Well, sort of. After a glimpse at an antique-looking map, we cut to an action sequence of a girl hastily packing supplies into a rough woven bag — Essie, telling us her story. She’s scared and in a hurry, rushing around a vaguely medieval-looking cottage and wrapping food in bits of cloth for the journey. The map begins to burn, hinting at great danger. Essie ties on a red blindfold for some reason and heads out on her perilous journey.
The biggest missed opportunity comes when Essie hears a noise at the door and whirls in alarm — but it’s just her cat, Tig. Her TALKING CAT. Couldn’t there have been a quick voice-over where Tig says something like, “Relax, Essie, it’s just me?” Now that would be a surprise that would have immediately told us this is a world of magic, where the rules are different and anything is possible.
Overall, it’s not a bad preview of what sounds like a traditional YA fantasy tale: a scrappy heroine, a feisty sidekick, a dangerous quest, a risky rescue. I like that it features a girl who doesn’t let her disability slow her down. It might not be something I’d read myself (because I’ve already read a lot of those books), but it looks suitable for a younger reader who’s just discovering the fantasy genre. With more emphasis on the humor and magic of Essie’s world, I’d bump it up to a higher grade.