Parallel worlds, cyborg soldiers, cool weaponry, awesome cover, solid writing style. What’s not to like? That’s what I thought when I first heard of The Fallen Prince by Amalie Howard. It’s book #2 in The Riven Chronicles. I did not read the first book (The Almost Girl) because I kept hearing that book 2 was far superior.
As somebody who loves sci-fi, the concept of biorobotics has always fascinated me. What would a world with human-robot hybrids look like? As it turns out, the main character in The Fallen Prince is a cyborg. Yay! That can’t go badly, right?
Okay, so maybe I was a bit to optimistic about this one. But first, the description. Usually I write this myself, but I stole this one from Amazon because I thought it was pretty good. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Here we go:
Riven has fought for a hard-won peace in her world, and has come to shaky terms with who and what she is—a human with cyborg DNA. Now that the rightful ruler of Neospes has been reinstated, Riven is on the hunt for her father in the Otherworld to bring him to justice for his crimes against her people.
But when she receives an unwelcome visit from two former allies, she knows that trouble is brewing once again in Neospes. The army has been decimated and there are precious few left to fight this mysterious new threat.
To muster a first line of defense, her people need help from the one person Riven loathes most—her father. But what he wants in return is her complete surrender.
And now Riven must choose: save Neospes or save herself.
Sounds like a fun concept, right? Yeah, well, it might have been if it had miraculously managed to avoid all of the cliches and gimmicks that seem to be running rampant in YA fiction these days.
Don’t get me wrong: Amalie Howard is a very competent writer. Her writing style is solid, her pacing is spot-on, even her characterization is well-executed. The plot seemed to have been well outlined. So what’s the problem?
This story is one that I’ve read a thousand times: Independent, harsh teenaged girl must save the world and herself while struggling with her relationship with hot boyfriend and other kind-of-hot guy friend.
This story just felt like no thought went into the messages behind it. An entertaining story? Yes. One that had any kind of deeper meaning? No. In fact, some of the messages seemed to be detrimental, such as the fact that Riven decides to have (off-page) sex with her boyfriend while knowing that he was going to have to marry someone else. Not exactly the best message to send teenagers.
On top of that, there was the awkward fact that almost all of the male characters had a crush on and/or were in some way dependent upon this 18-year-old cyborg girl. What? WHY?
The “diversity” of the book felt extremely forced, as if it was only there so that it could be checked off of a list. We were randomly thrown two lesbian characters who’s sexual orientation had absolutely no bearing on the story. What?
The crazy person trying to destroy Riven’s homeland? Turns out he was doing it because he had previously had a mental disability, cured himself (kind of), and was bitter enough about how he had been treated that he wanted to go on a killing rampage. Um….What?
Basically, there were a lot of parts in this book that made me have to stop and go:
I just had to come to the conclusion that this book, like many modern YA fantasy/dystopian novels, was written to entertain and sell, but not much else.
Now, despite all of the negative things I have to say about this story, The Fallen Prince was not completely horrible. As mentioned before, the writing style and pacing is solid and the plot is entertaining enough. It will certainly appeal to a certain readership, just not to people like me who want books to be written in a constructive, inspiring way. So, while I do not feel comfortable recommending this book, it may very well be enjoyable to you. Who knows? Not me.
Have you ever read anything to Amalie Howard? I’d love to hear what you thought!
This book was supplied to Constant Collectible in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
Hannah Heath – bookworm and author