Book: The Oddling Prince | Author: Nancy Springer | Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Pages: 288 | Release Date: 15th May, 2018
In the ancient moors of Scotland, the king of Calidon lies on his deathbed, cursed by a ring that cannot be removed from his finger. When a mysterious fey stranger appears to save the king, he also carries a secret that could tear the royal family apart.
The kingdom’s only hope will lie with two young men raised worlds apart. Aric is the beloved heir to the throne of Calidon; Albaric is clearly of noble origin yet strangely out of place.
This was absolutely beautiful. What got me first was the writing style. It was quite prosaic, elements of older English mixed in, as well as poems and songs. It seemed to flow in a tranquil way, calm. I don’t know another way to describe it, but I fell in love with that writing style.
I have to admit, that in the beginning I had some problems finding into the story. But the more I read, the deeper I got sucked into it, understanding the characters more and more. The setting is a war-torn Scotland, but in the beginning the reader does not realize this completely. We get an introduction to the fey first, and while they are beautiful and wicked, they are not evil. Yes, they manipulate humans but they can also feel for them, though not like them. So this makes for some tension between some of the characters.
The king is on his death bed, a strange sickness taking him over. The source seems to be a ring he is wearing but that does not come off his hand. He can only be saved by a stranger, a fey named Albaric, who is the king’s son from the Queen of the fey. While the king does not accept him, even loathes him, the king’s human son, Aric, finally feels complete. The two brothers become inseperable, even defying the king. I loved the relationship between the two of them. It was so wonderful, the two boys love each other unconditionally, they are two parts of a medal. Where one has a weakness, the other has his strengths.
To be honest, I loved the relationships in general. I also loved to see how they change (or don’t change), when the king gets sucked into the madness of the cursed ring, when he starts seeing treason everywhere, wanting to get rid of everyone and everything. But despite everything, the people around him try to save him and his kingdom, all the while finding happiness on their own.
I also liked how the story was centered around the two brothers and their relationship with their father. Even though there is a love story as well, it only has a small part, but a beautiful one nonetheless. Even this relationship is pure gold.
While I thought this was going to be a hard read, I enjoyed it all the more. The writing style, the story, the characters. I came to love everything in the end.