Mania Grade: B
2 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Author: Edward Lazellari
- Publisher: Tor/Forge
- Genre: Urban Fantasy/Fantasy
- Format: Hardcover, 528 pages
- Price: $27.99
Book Review: The Lost Prince
The Literary Equivailant of a Road Movie
By Chuck Francisco
September 30, 2013
Urban fantasy, a genre which commonly mixes magic into a contemporary cityscape, has been tremendously popular over the last decade. Best epitomized by Jim Butcher's rapid selling Dresden Files series, the genre is rife with talented up and coming authors. Edward Lazellari, author of the ongoing The Heroes of Aandor series, has already shown his versatility in 2011's Awakenings, and now returns with a follow up every bit as good if not better than his first work.
The Lost Prince resumes directly where Awakenings ended; a party of guardians from a parallel universe are tasked with protecting their young prince after having fled a brutal invasion of their magic enchanted, medieval homeland. Still struggling with the combined life experiences of a thirteen year amnesia spell, the protectors must locate their young teenage charge before a vicious opposition finds and kills him. Each member of the party has unknowingly been living a contemporary life in our society for more than a decade, before the sum total memories of their previous lives poured back into their heads like an unrestrained waterfall. They remember everything from both lives, which is fascinatingly problematic for the former cleric of Pelitos turned Christian minister, or the family man who is betrothed back on Aandor (and yet married here).
In a wrinkle deep enough to belong on Emperor Palpatine's face, Daniel the Prince was merely a baby when spellcraft obfuscated his memories of Aandor, and so he's unaware of the war being waged around his survival. Loyalties and lives are being bought and sold in every dark shadow between a Northern Carolina trailer park and a palatial New York City suite. The Lost Prince is so tremendously enamoring because it succeeds in being the literary equivalent of a road movie, but with one hundred percent more frost giants, centaurs, dwarves, trolls, wizards, and zombies. Refreshingly these undead have more in common with thralls than with shuffling rotters; having had their hearts magically removed, they are forcibly pressed into service by Lord Dorn, the wizard hunting for the prince's head.
The Lost Prince is fun, running a fish out of water card game with a fresh deck. Concurrently, the royal politics of Aandor are a deep pool into which we only dip a toe or two. The implied stream is rich and compelling. Treachery is a currency spent just as easily as gold, and lives are taken to be bartered toward an ultimate end game. With solid action to back it up, this novel runs a marathon with your adrenal glands in tow.
This isn't to the level of most of The Dresden Files books, to which it is drawing many complimentary comparisons, but it is an enjoyable ride and also showcases Lazellari's potential to grow as an author. This is no slight feat, and even the early Dresden books don't stand up to the realized potential of the series once Butcher really came into his own. The Lost Prince is very much worth your emotional investment, built atop a rich world and equipped with a satisfying conclusion, expect to be strapped in for the duration. It's available now from Tor Publishing in hardback, retailing for $27.99.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Wednesday's Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a co-curator of several repertoire film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA. You can hear him drop nerd knowledge on weekly podcast You've Got Geek or think him a fool of a Took on Twitter.