- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2646 KB
- Print Length: 452 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Aionios Books, LLC (27 Oct. 2018)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07JYLFQP4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer reviews: 10 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,816,230 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Fallen Princeborn: Stolen Kindle Edition
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‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ is the first in a series of YA dark-fantasy novels and is a great introduction to indie author Jean Lee’s writing, though her series of short stories ‘Tales of the River Vine’ are probably best read first as a preparation for this book. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of dark fantasy, but I loved Ms Lee’s writing style – it’s sharp, quirky and witty and unlike anything I’ve read before. Having said that, I did find the plot hard to follow at times, but that might be more to do with old age than anything else!
A clever and well-written book that promises great things for the rest of the series.
The worldbuilding is brilliant. Lee’s snappy prose style gives us a real sense of the surroundings – and thanks to Charlotte’s enhanced olfactory abilities, we not only get to see the world, we get to smell it, too. Once the turning point in the book occurs, Charlotte finds herself in a completely different place with different rules. We get to see her propensity to act first and consider later, even if she isn’t always sure that’s the best strategy. During her troubled and often violent past, this has proved to be successful and it also provides her with release for the simmering anger that drives her. I loved watching her progression as she very slowly starts to let her guard down – only for all her suspicions surge once more when she becomes convinced that she is being double-crossed.
The other main protagonist is Liam, the Bloody Prince, who makes a dramatic entrance thanks to Charlotte’s intervention. He is also an interesting mixture. Imbued with a great deal of innate power, his abilities have been compromised over the years by his tendency to use them for his own baser ends. I really liked this aspect – far too often protagonists pitch up with major abilities they have only used for the greater good, with only the baddies who give in to the darker side… But what if a main character’s upbringing is sufficiently skewed to lead him down some dark paths? Can he pull themselves free of such a compromised past and redeem himself? This is one of the main questions Jean asks.
And the clash of cultures between entitled, mesmerising Liam and embattled, bitter Charlotte ensures that plenty of sparks fly. His assumption that he can schmooze her with his usual mix of flattery and mind-power elicits her contemptuous fury, beginning to make him reconsider what he is doing.
He isn’t the only nuanced, interesting character – all the supporting cast have their own tales. I particularly love Arlen, who had the thankless task of raising Liam and his own gifted and powerful nephew and is still trying to hold everything together.
Those violet-eyed, murdering creatures are also fascinating, with their own tragic stories. Like the grief-stricken, trapped fae who has seen his children blown apart, and is intent on slaughtering any human he can get hold of. While he clearly shouldn’t prevail, I liked knowing why his behaviour is so savage. How refreshing to be sympathetic to the antagonists, especially given what they have done and what they are planning to do to humanity.
After the initial tension-filled opening and flurry of action, the pace eases up as we are given a ringside seat into Charlotte’s struggle to acclimatise and discover exactly what is going on. I didn’t mind – I was hooked. Once the story picked up again, gathering momentum for the final denouement I simply didn’t bother to put this one down. Lee’s spin on some of the classical mythical tropes, such as the Tree of Life and a usurped prince, is beautifully handled. There are a couple of short story collections set in this world, but I am hoping for another full-length book of more adventures in this savage, strange place.
Highly recommended for fans of quality, character-led fantasy.
The world-building was on point, I liked how the Author exploded that side of things.
Top international reviews
Lee's debut book, "Fallen Princeborn: Stolen," seriously scratches the itch I have for the angst, drama, romance, mystery, and scary-creepy "who knows what will happen" plot. I love when I can allow the text to carry me along, bringing my mind easily to a place where I can imagine all of the story unfold.
I really enjoy the fact that Charlotte and Liam both have artistic talents. There's other traits that Charlotte has that bring the reader's senses into play and makes experiencing this book that much more interesting.
I love Ember...though I can't exactly put my finger upon what it /is/ exactly.
The occasional references to the Real World (Places That Exist) really helped ground the reading - reminding me that, "oh, hey, this actually is supposed to be taking place in our world" and not just some made-up fantasy place, even if it is a made-up fantasy place within/around/among our world.
Rose House is awesome. Full stop.
This is an entertaining story that gives you many answers, but leaves you with more questions. I want to dig into the world and figure out its secrets. What will happen as Liam grows? Will he care for River Vine, or tear it apart? How will Charlotte's role in River Vine grow and change? Does she have secrets of her own? Guess I'll have to wait for part two!
Some of my favorite quotes:
"We have all of us had our bloody days, Charlotte. For many it is easier to remain in them than to change. To change requires a past stained by screams."
"No need for the past. No need for the future. Just a stone, a shore, and a friend."
Get this book. Enjoy this book. Wait eagerly for the next installment.
I think it’s a testament to the book that I had a nagging sensation of familiarity, and it took me a long time to pin it down. The uncertain familiarity meant that Lee had captured an ambiance of a certain well-known, high quality writer, but had replicated it with enough originality to create something new. I was about a quarter of the way in when I finally figured out that the storytelling reminded me of ‘American Gods,’ and after that there was a section that reminded me specifically of ‘Coraline.’ I think fans of Neil Gaiman will see his influence on Lee, and be appreciative.
Lee isn’t quite the polished storyteller that Gaiman is, but she is certainly an author to follow. I’m kind of torn about the present tense style. On the one hand, I think it’s effective, even liberating to read. But on the other hand I know the literary world is very much a creature of habit, and they often snarl with contempt at present tense and slam the cover no matter how effectively it’s used. I like that the publisher took the time to get the book a Kirkus review, but these days Kirkus doesn’t wield nearly as much clout as it used to. I wish, instead of the Kirkus review, they'd invested in a more dynamic cover.
Jean Lee is an interesting new voice, and I think ‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ will be a delight to a certain category of genre readers. The writing style is dynamic and interesting, but, unfortunately, that’s the type of thing that will make it less palatable to a wider audience. Lee creates an eerie, magical ambiance, and her characters are interesting and well-developed. A small press book, ‘Fallen Princeborn: Stolen’ represents the kind of fascinating divergence from the standard media conglomerate entertainment that so many people claim they’re looking for, but so few actually endeavor to seek out. Give it a try, and leave a response, I’m curious to hear what other’s think of this book.
I typically read any kind of genre if the writing flows. But my favorite tends to be the YA fantasy and YA paranormal. Because of what I do for a living (oncology nurse), it is refreshing to read something that takes me far from this reality and into an alternate, believable time and place.
The heroine, Charlotte Aegir, is perfectly flawed. So, while the storyline and the world-building is so creative and imaginative, and steeped in faerie, Charlotte's flaws and rough edges are also so true and...well, real, giving this dark fantasy novel a genuine emotional core—a beating heart—that we humans can relate to.
The protagonist of Princeborn is Charolette, a foul-mouthed eighteen year old who is a gifted pianist. Charolette’s also dealing with serious trauma in her past, and the authenticity with which she is written is one of the great strengths of the book. She has to answer questions inside herself about trust, the idea of home, and her relationship with her family. In order to mask her trauma Charolette does what many survivors do, she puts on a veil of strength and tries to shield others from the pain she experiences from the baggage she carries around. The way the extent of her traumatic experiences is revealed, through hints and brief glimpses into Charolette’s psyche, establishes her as a protagonist with some depth — even if there are moments when you want to scream at her to let go some of her pain and be healed.
Charolette also isn’t the only on in the prison who is dealing with the baggage of past trauma. Each character we meet during her excursion is dealing with some sort of past suffering. Rather than making these characters uniformly drab, however, the extent of the hidden wounds found among the imprisoned residents gives each a good palette from which to draw their character. The best fleshed-out of these is the Fallen Princeborn himself, Liam, whom readers get to know through some excursions into his inner monologue.
For me, the star of the book is the setting, the magical realm of River Vine. It’s old, and dangerous, and beautiful, and sad. It contains wonders which leave Charolette taken aback, and rot which is absolutely disturbing. The terrain is varied, and it’s big — far bigger than it should be, given the size of the wall which surrounds it (t’s a TARDIS!). And, more importantly, it reminds me of one of my favorite childhood haunts, Valley Green (AKA, The Wissahickon Gorge). If River Vine is ever made into a movie, then it needs to be filmed there.
Through her blend of horror and fantasy Jean Lee has created a unique world of both wonder and danger, in which opponents really know one another — and that familiarity breeds genuine contempt. In the end, however, Fall Princeborn: Stolen understands the power of hope. None of the characters magically arrives at wholeness by the end of the story, but many are beginning to deal with the scars they bear. This isn’t a sit down and turn your brain off sort of novel — it leaves readers chewing the cud of their own past traumas, and has us dealing with question of trust. It’s well-worth the time to read.
My one little gripe: the story is only partly told within these pages and we must wait for the next edition.