The Oddling Prince, an enchanting fantasy novel which takes place in the kingdom of Calidon, revolves around two brothers: Prince Aric and Prince Albaric — one human, one fey. The kicker is that Prince Aric had no idea that his Prince Albaric even existed and certainly wasn’t aware that he had a fey brother living in Elfland.
The Strange Ring
One day, King Baradic, the King of Calidon is out riding along with his son Prince Aric when out of nowhere a ring appears on the King’s finger. The ring glows bright, and no matter how hard he and others try, the King is unable to remove it from his finger.
Subsequently, the king falls ill, and it appears a though the ring is killing him. His health continues to deteriorate to the point where he lay dying, and it is evident to everyone that he has perhaps only hours left to live.
The Appearance of the Fey
All of a sudden, a beautify young fey man appears and is able to successfully remove the ring from the king’s hand, thus saving his life. The young fey claims that he has given up his immortality to come to Calidon to save the king and because of this, can no longer return to his home, Elfland.
The handsome fey then goes on to explain that his name is Albaric and that King Baradic is actually his father. He then recounts a wild story about how the king ended up entrapped in Elfland and subsequently fathered a child, Albaric. The king, having no recollection of anything Albaric says, believes the story to be false and outrageous, and denies any ties to Albaric. Even though Albaric renounces any interest in the throne claiming that he only wants to be reunited with his father, the king rejects him outright, and his contempt for him is evident (in spite of the fact that Albaric saved his life).
Meanwhile, Prince Aric immediately feels an unbelievably strong connection to the fey and knows deep down in his heart that the fey speaks the truth — they are indeed brothers. As the days progress, the bond and brotherly love between Aric and Albaric grow stronger, while the king’s hatred of Albaric increases as well, to the point where Aric fears that his father may even slay his fey brother. It doesn’t help that the people of Calidon fear the strange fey boy, making him feel unwelcome and out of place.
As the King continues to push Albaric away and attempts to keep the two brothers apart, Aric, who feels his brother’s anguish, vows to stay by his brother’s side and help him to find his place in the world.
What follows are numerous adventures involving bandits, magical horses, treachery, kingdom takeovers, heroism, mad rulers and the appearance of long-lost relatives, leading to a fast-moving story with plenty of surprises.
This story had a wide cast of interesting, intertwined characters, which really added to the intrigue and helped bring the book to life. Both Aric and Albaric’s characters were warm and caring, and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the good of the other was endearing and touching.
I felt that the bond between them and their pure love for each other really helped to propel the story forward. Albaric’s riveting history and personal journey, along with and Aric’s courage and deep love for his brother, drew me in and made this a satisfying read.
Queen Evalin, Aric’s mother, is also a wonderful character. Her love for her family is unwavering, even when many people might have turned away from them. What I found especially endearing was her acceptance and love for Albaric, even though she was as surprised by his existence as everyone else.
The author does a great job getting into the heads and hearts of her main characters, and the secondary characters are also well-drawn. They are meticulously developed, vivid and well-fleshed out, and though most all of them go through some real turmoil in the story, each of them comes out, in the end, better people for it.
The Oddling Prince is a unique story with beautiful, stylistic lyrical prose that was a joy to read from beginning to end. The book is very well-written in an old-fantasy style of writing and accurately conveys how fear can build or destroy, and how it can turn kind-hearted people into villains. But it’s also about the power of the love of family and how that love can heal us, no matter how far into the darkness we’ve descended.
The story itself is touching, frightening, and compelling in all the right places with an interesting and suspenseful storyline. Though there certainly are a good number of actions scenes in this book, it’s not really a warrior battling evil type of story. You won’t find a lot of warring and violence here that you typically see in many fantasy novels. Rather, The Oddling Prince is about more about emotional journeys rather than physical ones.
Full of suspense and emotion, The Oddling Prince is a book sure to hold you captive until the last page. I loved absolutely everything about this book, and while I didn’t want it to end, I felt the conclusion was perfect — the kind that leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling at the end.
The book I read was an Advanced Reader Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review so it’s not available as of this writing. It is scheduled for release on May 25, 2018 from Tachyon Publications. So if you enjoy fantasy with a touch of fey thrown it, this might be the perfect book to add to your TBR list. Recommended!