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The Traveler in Black and White (The Princelings of the East Book 4) Kindle Edition
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Mariusz/Hugo is a tougher character than the earnest Princes, but his caddish charm and guile make him just as appealing. As he's an antagonist in Princelings of the East it's really interesting to read his story.
If you've not read the Princelings trilogy this will still be a great story that stands up very well on its own. For those who have read them you'll find plenty of familiar characters and places in this book, as well as memorable ones: Mariusz's trip to Sowerby stands out here!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I picked up this book having not read the others in the series, and was not disappointed in the least bit. This novel is full of wit, beautifully crafted fantasy, and great characters. You definitely don't have to read the others to read this book, but reading it will make you want to read more.
I absolutely adored Hugo (his incognito name), and loved reading from his POV. He reminds me very much of the anti-hero, someone who is out there for his own gain, but who isn't a terrible guy at the end of the day, and yet at the same time he's not really an anti-hero at all, and I liked that. He's very humorous and suave and yet sharp-witted, a fun main character who I simply couldn't get enough of, and who kept me turning the pages. (I did have to laugh at times, because even though this story is written in American English, the British English leaked into his speech, not that I was complaining.)
I loved the world that this story was set in, too. I felt as though I was a part of it, and the details all fell into place; I didn't feel like there were plot holes I had to overlook. There were plenty of plot-twists, and the story never felt dull.
I have absolutely no cons for this book, save the fact that sometimes I felt just a small bit out of the loop because I haven't read the other novels. But, it was a minor annoyance at best.
I would definitely recommend this novel, especially for fans of a somewhat old-fashioned urban fantasy feel -- definitely different. I would place this book in Middle-Grade fiction, definitely enjoyable for younger readers, but a good read for older readers, as well.
A mysterious hole appears in the castle which proves to be too tempting for Hugo to resist. He enters the tunnel and makes an amazing discovery. For those who haven't yet read this book, I don't intend to reveal specifics of the discovery. But I will say that he embarks on an adventure aimed at expanding the reach of his beverage business.
This book has plenty of elements to entertain the reader. From the main character Hugo (did I say he was charming), to his efficient assistant Willow, to the shady characters he encounters. Throw in some castles, murder and vampires and I think you'll agree its an exciting mix.
Oh, and another thing...the characters are guinea pigs! That'd be why I had visions of Beatrix Potter and Wind in the Willows while I read.
This is Book 4 in The Princelings Series, and actually provides some back story on a character from the other books. So it's probably best if you read the them in the intended order. I'll be following further adventures in the other books.
It's a fun read that is quite original and entertaining. Kudos to the author.
I think I was understandably a little skeptical when I first accepted this book as part of my submissions. A book about talking guinea pigs? It didn’t sound like something aimed at tweens and teens as well as people of all ages, but I resolved to keep an open mind and give it a go. Of course by the end I was so glad that I went into it with an open mind.
The Traveler in Black and White is the fourth book in the Princelings of the East series but it can be read as a sort of prequel, which is how I read it seeing as I never read the first three books. And when the blurb says it’s written in a Chandler-esque style, it’s not kidding. Hugo, our narrator’s travelling pseudonym, really does speak like he’s a private eye in a noire novel. In the hands of some authors this would be annoying but Jemima Pett does it quite well, making the dark undertones a part of the story so that narrating it this way makes complete sense. It also adds a little humour to the situation at times, something that’s always needed in fiction.
Hugo is a pretty awesome character. He’s quick-thinking and smooth-talking but unlike characters with similar traits, he’s not immune to failure. His business venture down the tunnel doesn’t always go as planned and he experiences more than his fair share of setbacks. At the same time, he never gives up and so continues trying to muscle in on the Honourable Smallweed’s traditional territory. As someone coming into the series midway I know I didn’t fully appreciate all of the characters’ backstories but even if you’re like me and haven’t read the other books you really do get attached to the characters fairly quickly. Especially Hugo, even if he is a philandering sort of character who can be a little ruthless in his business practices—not violently so but more so in shady business practices. He’s sort of an anti-hero but you just can’t help it; you’ll love him by the end of the book. He’s a true three dimensional character, something I didn’t expect from a novel about talking guinea pigs.
The plot blew my mind. I don’t say that very often but it is very true in this case. Jemima Pett has constructed such a fascinating and intricate plot that I know I’ll have to read the book at least three more times to get all of its subtleties. Unfortunately I can’t really tell you much about the plot because it reveals some pretty big spoilers but needless to say, the tunnel isn’t all that it appears and neither are the people who live within it. Even Hugo is hiding some pretty big secrets of his own. I’ll say this about the plot, however: whenever you think you have things figured out, a wrench is thrown into the works just to keep you guessing. Vampires, ghosts, palace intrigue, love, betrayal…The Traveler in Black and White does have some pretty heavy themes but Jemima Pett manages to pull things off without making the story too terribly dark.
As I said, this is a book I’ll have to read at least three times to get all of its subtleties and part of that is because of the plot but the other part is because of the world-building. It’s quite well done and what surprised me the most is how much it’s like a human world and yet not like a human world. What I mean by that is that of course where you have palaces you have intrigue and royal assassinations yet at the same time there are some things you would expect in a guinea pig society like huge families. This quirky blend really works well for the novel and makes you feel all the more invested in the plot as well as the characters. I suspect that to fully appreciate the world-building here I’ll have to read the first three novels, but that’s hardly a chore.
Overall, you could say that The Traveler in Black and White was a huge surprise for me. I didn’t honestly expect it to be a Chandler-esque novel with complex characters, a mind-blowing plot and a fascinating society. But it was! Hugo is and will likely always remain one of my favourite non-human characters of all time. I’d say that pretty much sums up how much I enjoyed this book.
I give this book 5/5 stars