Published by Gryphonwood Press on June 17th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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From gutter to glory!Killing a man in the heat of the moment, violating a sacred peace among the criminals of Ralon's Bend, a young thief called Joren sets off a chain of events he could never have imagined. Banished from his home. Caught up in the political intrigue of nations. Wandering the world with his friend Mattal, the only witness to Joren's crime, trying to fix the mess he caused.The only way to do that is to become royals--or at least to pretend. But can they carry the deception far enough to save a kingdom, a princess, and a hundred years of peace? And if they're found out, can they spare their own necks from the hangman's noose?Return to the world of The Absent Gods in this thrilling new fantasy adventure, The Impostor Prince!'Invokes the same sense of wonder and joyous fantasy as two of the very best writers I grew up with-David Eddings and Terry Brooks. A world full of magic, sly humor and gripping adventure. This is the stuff fantasy is made of." Matthew Caine, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Ghosts of the Conquered.
There’s some interesting things going on in this book. It’s part coming-of-age, party buddy adventure, and part scruffy scoundrel makes right. Some sections are written quite well, and one part in particular, where our “hero” Joren goes through a sort of spirit quest is creepy and effective. Joren does grow considerably from his rash beginnings, and risks much to save folks, however I thought the ending was a little too neat, like the writer took the easy way out.
And that is probably the most frustrating aspect to this book. While certain areas are well developed, others like the very beginning, are rushed. Joren kills a guy at the start of the book, essentially the inciting incident which forces him and Matt on their adventure. For such an important scene, it’s very wham-bam-thank you ma’am-ish. We get a brief burst of knowledge about why Joren hates the guy he’s robbing so much, which then pushes him it into the role of murderer. I understand we are supposed to see a dark side to Joren, but it would be easier to swallow if he hadn’t dived in quite so eagerly. Even the priest waking up and starting to struggle could have worked if Joren flashed back to his time in the orphanage and simply reacted. However, the brief look into his past is so quick it reads as if it’s thrown in as a “Oh, and by the way, the guys who ran the orphanage were real jerks and so they deserve to die – waah.”
I almost put the book down at that point, but I persevered and soon found myself liking the story. However, these rushed bits had a habit of showing up again and again. Almost instant horsemanship. Decent sword skills over the course of a week or so. Riding reindeer in an hour. A greater sense of struggle and accomplishment would have made the story much more enjoyable.
Matt for the most part is the more likable of the characters. Despite his street urchin origins, he has a strong moral compass which he uses to annoy Joren into doing the right thing. He seems to go a bit nutty and paranoid in short order once the beautiful princess comes onto the scene—almost to the point that I thought there was some sort of poisoning or magical curse going on. With as much strife as a crush causes for the boys, it makes the ending all the more unbelievable.
The story is self contained, which is fairly rare these days, however there is certainly enough material that a sequel could be made. If that does come to fruition, I hope the author will take time to develop people and situations rather than rushing through things. A mere twenty-five pages if handled properly could have turned this book from a three star to a four plus star.