This was a quick read, made faster by the desire to find out what happens next. The ending is a little abrupt, but buying the ridiculously inexpensive following parts now is only a click away – a step you will feel compelled to take by the end. This book contained no explicit sex scenes, just implied ones, but those implications were sizzling enough. The next two parts promise to set the pages on fire.
Helen J. Bradley is another author I met through the NaNoWriMo Participants. Yes, that’s three of them now, but that’s just how amazing a group it really is. I’m going to review some other random books next, I promise. Helen is a frequent contributor to that group, and so when she announced the launch of her first book I (virtually) stood in line to grab it. It has some “first book” hiccups, but I definitely do not regret the time spent on this book and will buying the next two parts for myself for Christmas.
THE AMAZON REVIEW:
AS A READER:
This is a very enjoyable read! It is short – 42 pages – which puts it into the novella range and makes it exactly what it claims to be – a part of the story. As such it is introducing characters, plot, setting and relationships. There are parts where I wanted more (I’ll get to that in a second), but this book was well-paced and compelled me to keep going.
The year is 1979, the setting, a very slightly Alternate Earth. The main character is Prince Teuvo, and we are introduced to him over the corpse of the Grandfather he just murdered. A Grandfather who also happens to be King of the tiny kingdom of Ukonsaari, but has done some very, VERY bad things in both his political and personal lives. So we quickly forgive Teuvo. The King’s conduct while ruling caused the majority of other surrounding Kingdoms to sever ties with Ukonsaari. The Prince’s own conduct during his teenage years severed his tie with the last potential ally, Norway. So the King is dead, long live the King!… but yah, the new King is probably screwed.
There is love, intrigue, and fast-paced action as Teuvo’s attempt to peacefully take control of his Kingdom is thwarted by a coup, and he is forced to flee for his life along with two companions – his faithful bodyguard Olani, and Princess Astrid of Norway. And the kicker is that Teuvo is in love with both, which adds tension and charm to the story. What will become of the three we are left to discover in the next part.
This book reads like a cross between a James Bond novel and a 70’s adventure-romance a lá Elizabeth Peters.
AS A WRITER:
I’ve been in editing mode again, so there are some sentences I would tighten, some snippets my brain identified as telling that I would like to be shown in action or dialogue. Nothing I found was an impediment to my enjoyment of the book, or is out of the ordinary for a non-American book (Bradley being Australian). I found no grammatical or spelling errors.
My only problem came between the 2nd and 3rd chapter, when a woman suddenly appears in Teuvo’s bed. Now that is not unusual for influential men in general – even if unbidden there are women who will find a way to make themselves “available”, no matter how many guard-dogs and bodyguards they have to sneak past.
But this woman is a Princess, and this man is a Prince who is courting not only her person, but her country’s alliance. He loves her, his advisor is nudging him into proposing to her even though it’s been years since they’ve seen each other. So it ran against every politically savvy nerve I have (you heard me, all two!!), that she would sneak to him, that he would accept that and – most importantly – that we are only shown the morning after! There must have been a WHOLE LOT that occurred the night before – not just loads of sex, but at least a few “My, Astrid! What are you doing here?” lines and things. Most likely another chapter’s worth of “things”. I flipped the pages back and forth on my Kindle, checked the chapter headers and frowned at the screen, but it was not there. Nor was a real explanation presented after the fact for why she was there.
That said, the way chapter 3 begins is epic. And as the genesis of the true action, it worked well.
I will be reading and reviewing the next two parts in January, with a link to this review for the uninitiated.
You can get “Prince in Exile, Part I”, and find other works by H.J. Bradley from Amazon. The three parts of Prince in Exile are now available as an omnibus in paperback or kindle. She has an upcoming book called “Dusk” on pre-order that I am very excited about, and will probably be ending being a late Christmas present as well.
I will update this review when I get news about sales and promotions.
Next up is a review of A.Wendeberg’s “The Devil’s Grin”, followed by Cailtlin Doughty’s “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory.”