There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Book Review: The False Prince August 28, 2013

Hello There and Draft Again Readers!

Today I’m bringing you my personal review of The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. (SPOILER ALERT: I LOVED it).

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Without giving too much away, the plot centers around a boy by the name of Sage. He has lived in and out of orphanages for the past four years, until he is picked off the streets by a noble man named of Connor. Sage, along with three other boys, must compete with one another to become lords and viable options for the now vacant throne of their kingdom.

Sounds like your basic rags to riches story, right? It was the main reason I didn’t pick it up at first. I passed by it at least ten times in the store, reading the back and putting it back down because I thought it was basically The Hunger Games with less kids and no killing. Boy, was I wrong. I eventually broke down and bought it and I’m really glad I did. The story has a really tight narrative and although it doesn’t have the heart-pound tension of The Hunger Games, there is something about it that makes it nearly impossible to put down. Almost a nagging sort of mystery where you just have to find out what happens next. Sage is a unique character, constantly fighting back against Connor’s plan while seeming oddly in front of  him at every turn. A plot point in the novel I thought was just the author letting herself soak into the character. I was wrong about that as well. There is a very real reason behind why Sage knows so much and it was a twist I didn’t see coming at all.

moriarty___surprise_face___gif_by_talichibi-d4rwq08I will forewarn all who like romance in their stories that this one has nearly none. There is a potential relationship set up for the second or third book in the series, but nothing happens other than a couple conversation with zero romantic overtones. I will also forewarn you that there is a break in the first person narrative where the story goes into third person. I don’t feel that particular chapter had to be done in third person, I believe it could’ve kept with the first person narrative and still been successful in its goal of informing the reader. That particular chapter is the reason I am not giving the book a perfect five out of five stars. It really threw me out of the reading groove I had going on, and you never ruin a readers groove.

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Overall I give this novel a 4.5/5.0!

Goodreads gives it a 4.2/5.0

I deem it a great example of a epic fantasy without wars or magic. If that’s the kind of book you are thinking about writing or have written, read this one! It could prove to be a great comp title for you.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Jessica

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Fantasy Book Review: Magic’s Pawn March 9, 2013

Hello Readers!

Today, I wanted to give you a review of one of my all time favorite fantasy books, Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey.

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Summary: The story follow the main character Vanyel as he is transposed from his unhappy life on a country holding to the wild world of the capitol in Lackey’s rich world of Valdemar. While Vanyel dreams of becoming a world famous Bard, he discovers he lacks the necessary Gift to make it. As he spirals into a deep depression, new feelings grow for his roommate Tylendal, a romance that is strictly forbidden by his father. After Tylendal’s twin is murdered, Vanyel helps his lover do whatever he has to for revenge against those who murder his brother.

While I will be the first to admit that there are some issues with the story, mostly the fact the main character might be hard to like due to the fact he is angst-ridden, I still loved it. Typically, I am not one for romance, but I really liked the bond between Tylendal and Vanyel in this story. While the bond between them causes Vanyel to commit some fairly stupid things in the name of love, it is believable he would do anything to support his lover. However, I will note if you are not comfortable with gay romances, this is probably not the book for you as a lot of the themes in the novel have to do with acceptance of homosexual couples.

The novel does commit the crime of head-hopping. There are several points of view in the book and the narration often hops from one perspective to another. This can become sort of confusing at times since there are not many clues as to who’s head we are actually in. This is a trait I’ve noticed a lot in fantasy from the 80’s and 90’s, but I think that this novel as well as others set in the world of Valdemar definitely do it the worse.

Overall, the novel may appear to have more bad things about it than good things, so why is it one of my favorite fantasy books? The first fantasy novel I ever read was set in the world of Valdemar, hundreds of years in the future from Vanyel’s story, and often referenced to Vanyel as a hero. The really neat thing Mercedes Lackey has done with her books is connected all the major points in the world of Valdemar together and created a believable and intriguing history. Having the opportunity to explore the past so many people reference in the future is a unique and exciting thing for me. Also, I loved the main character Vanyel. Many reviews claim he is overdramatic and too angsty. This is probably true. However, the first time I read this I was Vanyel’s age and I thought his reactions were completely understandable and justified. It will always be one of my favorite fantasy stories and definitely one of the stories I read that made me want to write fantasy, no matter the criticism.

Goodreads Rating of Magic’s Pawn: 4 stars

Personal Rating of Magic’s Pawn: 4.5 stars

So now I am curious, is there a story you absolutely love that no one else seems to?

Jess