This review was seriously delayed by an attack of evil migraines (yes, plural). The next time you see a migraine, punch it in the face for me. Don’t worry: that migraine totally deserves it.
I adore that cover. Anyway, as always, I begin with the plot summary courtesy of Goodreads:
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…preferably in bed. That’s always been Kingsley Edge’s strategy with his associate, the notorious New York dominatrix Nora Sutherlin. But with Nora away in Kentucky, now it’s Kingsley’s chance to take her place at the feet of the only man he’s ever wanted — Søren, Nora’s on-again, off-again lover — until a new threat from an old enemy forces him to confront his past.
Wes Railey is still the object of Nora’s tamest yet most maddening fantasies, and the one man she can’t forget. He’s young. He’s wonderful. He’s also thoroughbred royalty and she’s in “his” world now. But Nora is no simpering Southern belle, and her dream of fitting into Wesley’s world is perpetually at odds with her dear Søren’s relentlessly seductive pull.
Two worlds of wealth and passion call to her and whichever one Nora chooses, it will be the hardest decision she will ever have to make… unless someone makes it for her…
Tangent: Perhaps the reason I hate plot summaries so very much is that I am consumed by a powerful jealousy – I want that job. I want to write teasers like “…it will be the hardest decision she will ever have to make… unless someone makes it for her…” that hint at ominous doings. But I don’t./tangent
Anyway. I am attempting a thematic review of this book (in keeping with my previous Original Sinners series reviews). I’m fairly certain I can write the review without including any spoilers, but if you’re itching to read The Prince and just haven’t gotten to it yet, it’s probably a good idea to read the book first and then come back to read my review (just in cases).
I unequivocally loved The Siren and The Angel. I also loved The Prince, but not unequivocally. Don’t get me wrong–it still earned the 5-star review it will get from me on Goodreads–but there were a few random elements that sort of poked me in a not entirely good way. I figured I would get them out of the way before I delve into a discussion of some of the book’s themes.
- Zoolander. There’s this moment towards the middle of the book wherein Kingsley ruminates about how folk think he’s handsome, and Søren definitely is handsome, and Eleanor is beautiful, but another character is just stunningly gorgeous. And I’m sure I’m completely ridiculous, but when I read that line, this is what played in my head:
- I really hate cliffhangers, and this book ends with a big one. Of course, my personal dislike of cliffhangers (I hated ’em in Harry Potter, too) has nothing to do with the book, but this is my review, and I’ll bitch about cliffhangers if I want to.
- Super-duper unsexy sexy sexy times. (I think Anachronist at Books as Portable Pieces of Thoughts really has the best commentary on the unbelievably unsexy sex in certain parts of this book.) Overall, I liked the book, but I was still shocked and slightly embarrassed to encounter explody spuge and seriously awkward conversation. I get that those scenes had to be at least a trifle awkward (they would have been unrealistic, otherwise), but that doesn’t mean that all the awkwardness was even slightly pleasant. Goodness.
So, caveats aside, The Prince is dark. It is arranged in two parallel story lines that are intercut, with the “North” story (past and present) following Kingsley and Søren and the “South” story following Nora and Wes. I enjoyed the intercutting because it helped the pacing throughout the story and gave me time to recover from some of the book’s darker moments. I’ve seen some comments from other readers that read all of the “South” sections first and then all of the “North” sections, and I thought it was funny (not really ha ha, but a little) that those readers turned Reisz into Tolkien, just a bit. On the whole, I thought the “North” segments were stronger than the “South” ones. Kingsley absolutely shines in this book, and Wes seemed a trifle flat, especially by comparison.
If Søren bore a resemblance to the God of the Old Testament in The Angel, he seems to be the spittin’ image in this book, when he appears as a teen. As an adult, Søren still bears a resemblance to God but it’s to the God of the New Testament (I think). He makes sacrifices and has to deal with their consequences. He loves, and he has to watch his loved ones battle it out and make mistakes, and he can’t really know how it will all end. He’s a God who went from being in complete control to having to wait and hope that his people (person, really) will come back to him. Uncertainty does not sit well with the Almighty, and neither does Søren handle it without considerable friction. I loved every one of Søren’s scenes, even the brutal ones.
I am not sure if it is just a case of contrast, but I really disliked Wes in this book, and I was confused by Nora. While Søren and Kingsley are confronting and, to an extent, reliving the past, Wes and Nora spend their time building an incongruous fantasy dream world and exploring the brutality of the thoroughbred racing world. (I should point out that I enjoyed the latter explorations as they provided insights to both Wes’ and Nora’s view of her world in the underground.) Perhaps this issue is just that a lot of the “South” scenes were written from Wes’ point of view, and I didn’t enjoy being in his head nearly as much as I enjoy Nora’s. She’s funny; he’s sappy.
I recommend this book to anyone who read and enjoyed The Siren and The Angel and is tolerant of very dark subject matter. There are some extremely intense scenes, and sensitive readers should approach with caution. I am one of those sensitive readers, actually, but I found enough interesting material and often starkly beautiful writing to compensate me for the few panic attacks this book brought on. Speaking of starkly beautiful writing, this book contains one of my favorite sentences of all time. For that one sentence alone, I would give this book a 5-star review; but, of course, I found many more reasons for that rating.
The Prince was released on November 20 by Harlequin MIRA in both e-book and print format, I believe. For more information about the author (including a selection of free bedtime stories that are well worth a read–but read The Siren first–check out the author’s website http://tiffanyreisz.com. If you click on the cover image above, you can visit the book’s page on Goodreads and follow links to purchase through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley of this book from Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*