Monday, 11 February 2013
Prince in Hiding (The Making of a Mage King: Book 1) by Anna L. Walls
What would happen to you if you lost your parents at 17?
And then... what if they weren't your parents at all?
When Sean loses his parents within a year of each other he can't see past the tragedy... until he finds out his father isn't really his father... and Sean isn't who he thinks he is. Follow Sean through his journey to a magical world where he is royalty and his powers are only beginning to bloom... and family is a relative concept - evil uncles and all.
Prince in Hiding by Anna Walls is the first in the Making of a Mage King series that follows young Sean from boy to Mage King.
I am a massive fantasy novel fan and therefore I do review quite a few of them on this site and yes, here is another one.
While some fantasy novels seem to be about how much you can find in to a story at any given time, this novel by Anna L. Walls takes a completely different approach. In fact, the best to describe it would be that it's a subtle and deliberately slow pace to the story itself.
That is most definitely one of the novels greatest strengths by far. The characters are given time to grow organically and as such, you get really involved in the story itself. In fact, I would even go so far to say that reading this book is kind of like watching a flower grow in that you just know the end result is going to be completely worth every minute you invest in to it.
The story itself is superbly written. Like I mentioned before, the slow and subtle pacing of the story really lends itself well to the adventure that Sean is about to embark on. The way that the character discovers and then has to deal with not only the loss of his father but then the revelation that he wasn't really his birth father is handled superbly and in a really realistic manner. There's no over the top melodrama here and that really adds another layer of quality to proceedings.
One of the complaints that I read about this book was that some of the things come too easily to the character but I don't agree at all. If he had every quest or every action be a major one then the reader would become so desensitised to what is going on that they would end up not caring about the story. Here Walls uses the big reveals, the big twists and what I would call her 'big moments' masterfully and in exactly the right places. There were many moments in the story that had a 'wow' factor to it and made me eager to see what was going to happen next.
For a first book in a series, this one came as a great suprise in that it didn't batter the reader over the head with too many new places, characters or backstory. That's not to say that the story or characters are undefined. Far from it. Walls just knows when to unveil a new character, ability or other such revelations and that is honestly like a breath of fresh air.
This book is highly recommended for fantasy fans, especially if you are a Mercedes Lackey fan as they both have very similar styles. Well worth a read.