PJV Quickie: While only 74 pages, including the preview of MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, the novella, THE SHADOW PRINCE packed one hell of a punch. You wouldn’t believe that so much story could be told in that little amount of pages, but I could not put my iPad down! THE SHADOW PRINCE had me hooked from page one.
REVIEW: In the prequel to MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, O’Neale (shout out to Book Blogger turned author – hoorah!) introduces us to hottie, fire elemental, Rowan. Heir to the Fire Court throne, Rowan is pretty much a loner. His morals keep him away from his mother’s court because of her vicious and violent tendencies and his disagreement with the way the court is run, especially in how the Hounds, half-breed, shape-shifting, elementals, are treated. When Rowan is summoned to his mother’s court, because of her supposed abdication of the thrown, Rowan is at first suspicious, but then he begins thinking about all the changes he can make once he is in charge. When his mother gives him a task to complete before his coronation – kill the Air King’s daughter – Rowan knows he must push aside his morals for the greater good. His reign could end the slavery of hundreds, all he has to do is sacrifice one life…one innocent life.
If you’ve ever tried to come up with a crazy fantasy world, you’ll know how hard it is, then try to pack all that exposition within 74 pages and make sense…even harder. Then make it read well, without having a forced telling feel, where the author just recites facts, is even harder. THE SHADOW PRINCE is an amazing story, written well, with a unique story and intense plot. O’Neale is one hell of a storyteller. I was instantly drawn into this world of elemental courts and odd shape-shifters that were nothing more then slaves. She kept the world-building simple, choosing to leave aspects up to my imagination instead of describing everything. You are transported to the mythical Avalon with only a few short descriptions, yet it plays out in front of you. Rowan is faced with huge choices, moral dilemmas and life-changing decisions and it all plays out as real and logical. All of it setting the stage for what I can only believe will be a great first in series.
Then I have to go on to describe the unique out-the-box feel of this novella. The novella has both an adult flavoring, but a YA backbone. Much like you find in great authors like Cynthia Hand and Leigh Barduga. Maybe it is the fantasy aspect, but it was reminiscent of sexy Paranormal Romance series starts, like the Immortals After Dark. Rowan was just that much of an Alpha, even though he was only 16 when the story begins. You don’t find many YAs penned from the male POV, so that also had something to do with it. If you are a fan of great world-building, sexy male heroes and young adult fantasy and paranormal stories, you’ll get a kick out of Stacey O’Neale’s THE SHADOW PRINCE.
Recommendations: Recommended for a PG-13 crowd, because of mild violence and some mature themes.