The Oddling Prince

The Oddling Prince

Book - 2018 | First edition: 2018.
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"In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal family apart. The kingdom's only hope will lie with two young men raised worlds apart. Aric is the beloved heir to the throne of Calidon; Albaric is clearly of noble origin yet strangely out of place. The Oddling Prince is a tale of brothers whose love and loyalty to each other is such that it defies impending warfare, sundering seas, fated hatred, and the very course of time itself. In her long-awaited new fantasy novel, Nancy Springer (the Books of Isle series) explores the darkness of the human heart as well as its unceasing capacity for love"--Back cover.
Publisher: San Francisco : Tachyon, 2018.
Edition: First edition: 2018.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781616962890
Branch Call Number: SPRIN
Characteristics: 275 pages ; 22 cm


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May 11, 2018

I received this eARC from Tachyon Publications on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

For fans of The Lord of the Rings, The Oddling Prince is a tale of two brothers and their father, the King, and a ring of power that has plans of its own.

The beginning of this book was somewhat difficult to really get into, as the book was written differently than any book I've ever read before, with a very storybook, almost Shakespearean style. I feel that it would be great as an audiobook, because the 1st person narrative has many asides and interjections from Aric, the protagonist, that it seemed to be a story being told. Once I got used to it, I really enjoyed the writing. There are many terms that might be unfamiliar to many readers, so I would only suggest this to people who are fluent in English and at high school reading level or greater.

I loved the world! Elfland was so intriguing, and the fey elements of the story were very well done. The prophecy of the White King was wonderfully interspersed throughout to maintain suspense without being overbearing or exposition. I absolutely loved the ring! It had the potential to just be a LOTR copy, but instead it was unique and interesting and acted as a great plot driver. It really was a chaotic neutral force sometimes, and almost seemed to be a character in its own right.

The strange bromance between Aric and Albaric really could and should have been done better though. It was insta-love, really, and didn't feel familial until over 50% into the book, because Aric kept commenting on how beautiful and lovely and wonderful and astounding and skilled Albaric was like some lovesick puppy. Some of their behavior, like touching each others hands and cuddling felt like was I do with my sisters, and as men of their era, that was odd though not unwelcome. It was Aric's constant praise of Albaric that was so off-putting. Siblings don't act that way.

I loved how the conflict with the king grew slowly and deeper with each chapter. It really kept me intrigued and on the edge of my seat.

Aric: Besides his creepy obsession with his brother, he was a really fun character! I loved his sense of humor and his carefree, fun nature. He was kind of ADHD but I loved that, and found him so incredibly endearing.

Albaric: He was definitely my favorite character! His struggle with being a previously immortal being trapped in a mortal body and with unrequited love for his father was so well done and unique. I've been really wanting a well done fey character ever since I read A Court of Thorns and Roses and found it incredibly lacking in every magical regard (besides other things) and so this character and this book really hit my fantasy spot. Also, his humor and banter with Aric was fantastic! I love utterly clueless but well-meaning characters so much!

King Bardaric: He was so interesting. His dark descent into madness was such a great character study and really kept me guessing and second guessing its origins.

Queen Evalin: She was so great! She is seriously the best, strongest, most elegant lady I've ever read in any book. She's seriously what I needed right now. She's so supportive and wise, and so determined. I really loved her.

Marissa: She was somewhat of a surprise, and I was determined to not like her (given the fact that I didn't much see her point at first) but her girlish charm won me over and I relented.

This might be a new favorite, I'm not totally sure yet (might need to let it settle for a bit) but either way, it was a great fantasy adventure, and really gave me everything I needed when setting out to read a book from such a genre. It made me feel nostalgic, for what, I don't know, but nostalgic nonetheless. I seriously really enjoyed this and I want all of you to read it too once it comes out, because it's totally worth it.

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