Monday, February 10, 2014

ARC Review: Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler

Title: Three Princes
Author: Ramona Wheeler
Published: Tor Books (Macmillan), February 4, 2014
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Synopsis:  Lord Scott Oken, a prince of Albion, and Professor-Prince Mikel Mabruke live in a world where the sun never set on the Egyptian Empire. In the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. When the European terrorist Otto von Bismarck touches off an international conspiracy, Scott and Mik are charged with exposing the plot against the Empire.

Their adventure takes them from the sands of Memphis to a lush New World, home of the Incan Tawantinsuyu, a rival empire across the glittering Atlantic Ocean. Encompassing Quetzal airships, operas, blood sacrifice and high diplomacy, Ramona Wheeler's Three Princes is a richly imagined, cinematic vision of a modern Egyptian Empire.

**I received a copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review in return.**

It makes me very sad to say, but unfortunately this book really wasn't for me. It wasn't bad exactly, it just wasn't my kind of enjoyable.

The writing style is incredible. The books is beautifully written and full of lush details about the people and places that inhabit this interesting world. It really helped me as the reader imagine the scene and characters. The rich details also to build a compelling world that was full of well-researched details about not only Ancient Egypt but also the world of the Incans and Mayans. More than once it made me want to visit Peru and see the structures they were mentioning! But the world also had some interesting technology, giving it a pretty cool Steampunk vibe. Without a doubt the world-building was the best part of this book.

And as far as the concept goes it's a creative idea, especially for historical fiction, to imagine that the
Egyptian Empire didn't fall and then create a book set in the 19th Century and inhabit this alternate universe with actual historical figures from the time period. I'm not generally a fan of alternate universe stories. I studied history because I think what actually happened is interesting enough and I get annoyed with the the break from reality or canon in the case of AU fiction stories. But while reading Three Princes I didn't really get feel that way. The changes in the history made the story interesting and I enjoyed the subtle references to historical figures and events. 

But, the problem was that world-building and an interesting concept alone does not a good story make. The plot was surprisingly slow and instead of being full of action and adventure it was full of travel montages and brief encounters with odd characters. And while there were some interesting characters I had a hard time connecting with the main characters and their goals that they never really seemed to be working to accomplish. They are supposed to be like these international spies on a mission to uncover certain information and they never seem to do anything to find anything out. Throughout most of the book I was waiting for things to start picking up, this book felt like one big wait. Then when things did get interesting about three-quarters of the way through with the book it felt like it was a little too late.

I am glad that I did take the time to finish the book but that's mostly because I am incredibly stubborn and did not want to DNF the book because I think of that as defeat. But I'm also glad I
finished it because things did come full-circle and there was a small payoff.

I give Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler a 5 out of 10.

I'm not sure I would recommend Three Princes to anyone but if you are interested in Ancient Civilization, like alternative universe books, or stories with a lot of world-building then check it out. HAPPY READING!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an interesting concept book, but I am sad to hear that it didn't deliver. :(