Wednesday, December 20, 2017

REVIEW: The Prince of Korin by Melody J. Bremen

Prince Endomer of Korin is not a hero. Nor does he want to be one.

He spends his days in the royal library, poring over old manuscripts, studying archaic languages and playing chess. He’s never been like Krollis, his fearless twin brother, who is an expert swordsman and hunts wild beasts in the forests.

When an army of vizzens, the fearsome old enemy of Korin, attacks from the east and Krollis disappears, Endomer is left in charge of the country. He struggles to find a way to save his people while his soldiers are dying and his citizens are forced to flee. As he fights to gain the respect of the palace court, he discovers a threat coming from within the palace walls. There is no one he can trust.

He isn’t only fighting for his country – he’s fighting for his life.

Fans of Megan Whalen Turner and Jennifer A. Nielsen will enjoy this story of political intrigue and betrayal.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. And boy I'm glad I did!

The Prince of Korin hit that wonderful sweet spot of being exactly the book I wanted at exactly the right time and I love everything about it.

Bremen's tale opens on twin princes, brothers who are polar opposites -and neither know which is to be heir to the throne until their fast-approaching fifteenth birthday. Instead of going the route of rivalry and discord, bookworm Endomer and adrenaline-junkie Krollis have become estranged by their vastly different interests and personalities -a route that, in Bremen's favor, was probably not as easy to write and far, far more interesting to read about.

There's not a drop of sorcery in this tale, but it turns out Bremen didn't need any magic but her own words to tell it. Reminiscent of the master Gail Carson Levine, Bremen spins her tale of fantasy politics, intrigue, treachery, murder, and the rise of an ancient powerful enemy from the eyes of Endomer, a woefully unprepared bookworm of a prince, clever if a little naive, thrust suddenly under the burden of it all.

An easy and enjoyable read for its fast pace and almost effortless flow, The Prince of Korin is a character-driven story with a perfect balance of mystery, action, and intrigue. As the threat of war tears across the country, Endomer is expected to lead his people through the crisis, to either live up to or break under expectations.

Our view is an intimate one as he struggles to find his place, battle his own self-doubt, earn the respect of the court, and -perhaps my favorite of all- find a way to connect with his brother. Their relationship grows and blossoms as they come to understand one another for the first time, to appreciate the others obvious and not so obvious strengths and weaknesses -and not at all in the way you'd expect.

While not unpredictable, The Prince of Korin is still immensely enjoyable and kept me up into the wee hours of the morning.

I'm still trying to decide whether my favorite character is Endomer -bookworm power!- or the intimidating bodyguard Baclen, for his gruffness, tough love, and irreverent sense of humor. As a pair, at least, they're impossible not to love!

"You'll be fine," Baclen said.
I shook my head. "I can't even get on a horse without someone helping me."
"I'll help you get on your horse."
Somehow, I could still smile. "That's reassuring."

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