Hello, hello! It’s the last Wednesday in May, which means it’s time for another book review. This time, I decided to get into a fantasy novel to mix things up a bit. Cozies and thrillers are great, but sometimes you just need a break. So, I requested a copy of The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer from NetGalley. It came out earlier this month from Tachyon Publications. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. With that out of the way, let’s get on with it!
The Oddling Prince opens with Aric’s father, the king of Calidon, on his deathbed. A ring of unknown origins is sucking the life from him, and no one can figure out how to remove it short of cutting off the appendage, which no one dares to do. At least not until a stranger arrives on a horse that disappears when he dismounts. The stranger saves the king without mutilating him and reveals a secret that only Aric immediately accepts as true. This leads to adventure and arguments and secrets and a level of brotherly love that verges on the incestuous at times.
I fully admit that this book caused my inner yaoi fangirl to come out. If you don’t know what yaoi is, the best way I’ve heard it described is that it’s beautiful boys kissing beautiful boys. Granted, it tends to go much farther than that, but I won’t go there because the book doesn’t. So, if you’re reading it and get some strange vibes that make you want to put it down, don’t worry. It’s really just creepy levels of brotherly love. For the yaoi fanpeople, you will be slightly disappointed. But hey! At least Aric and Albaric came together in the end. *winkwinknudgenudge* Just in a completely different, but equally satisfying way.
But seriously, I found this story quite enjoyable. The characters were relatable despite being royalty. The plot was fun and had a lot of twists. My only complaint with this one is that the pacing is awkward. It feels like everything happens over the course of a few days, maybe weeks, but there are lines that suggest months have passed by. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able make a timeline for it even after finishing it, because I’m still not entirely sure whether days or weeks or months passed. That issue screws with a couple of other things, such as the relationship arc between Aric and Marissa. There wasn’t a sense of love at first sight, so when it seemed like they randomly fell in love after a couple of days, it felt like an afterthought. But if months passed, it makes a bit more sense.
As far as the writing goes, be prepared for older language and a rhythm reminiscent of fairy tales. It’s a little jarring at first, but it’s interesting. I learned things like a believable difference between calling a king “Sire,” “Liege,” and other things. Whether the information is entirely correct, I don’t know. I haven’t researched it yet. But it made sense in the story. And the author made the information feel like a natural part of the story instead of an infodump. It was really interesting
Ultimately, The Oddling Prince was a fun read. It seems like it’s going to be a standalone, but on the off chance there are more, I’ll pick them up. I also plan on looking for other books by Springer.
Overall, I’d give it four out of five stars. It’s a quick and amusing read. If you’re into fantasy or fairy tales or just looking for something light to read between things, I’d definitely suggest giving it a shot.