Review: The Prince in Waiting

The Prince in Waiting
The Prince in Waiting by John Christopher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book is basically a Song of Ice and Fire (i.e. Game of Thrones) for children. Want to read about betrayal, treachery, characters-dying-even-though-you-like-them, but don’t want to read a 1000 page introduction to the series which is Game of Thrones? Then this book is for you.

It starts off like a children’s tale of princes and the like but turns dark fast. Real fast. Once characters start dying, you know you are in the right spot. It may seem like a typical ‘hero’s journey’ at first, but I really don’t think it is. It really is like Game of Thrones, as I said, and you’ll be left guessing who’s gonna betray who next. But I guess since it’s a kids book, it’s only told from one person’s perspective.

I picked up this book because it was listed as ‘gray morality’ on TV Tropes, and it did not disappoint. Nobody is truly evil, and everyone thinks they are right, or at least they are looking out for themselves first.

You may or may not like the protagonist. In fact, I don’t really think of him as a protagonist, but more of a point of view (POV) character. He shares his thoughts and feelings but doesn’t actually do much. It seems more like things are happening around him, and he is situated in the centre of it all. In fact, he is a pretty entitled and self-centred brat really. He doesn’t really bother about thinking from other people’s perspectives, nor is he very bright. – Like every princeling ever.

The other characters are varied and interesting. Not everyone is hungry for power (or so they seem). And it is the other character’s character development that is interesting to watch.

My only gripe about this book is the writing style. I really hated it. Christopher seems to write about things in a roundabout way. Normally I don’t really like descriptives passages too much. But in this book, there was really too little of it, or poorly done. There is no good description of the city the characters live in. Most book critics talk about the ‘show vs tell’ way of writing. However, this book is lacking in both show or tell.

Also, the book is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where man has returned to the medieval ages. I learned this from reading the book synopsis, not from the actual passages. One would think there would be passages describing the ruins of modern man, with all the ruined skyscrapers and such. But it’s really just called tall metal ruins in the book.

I still want to continue on with the series and I would recommend this book to any Song of Ice and Fire fans. Apparently, the 2nd book in this trilogy is more of a hero’s journey and the characters don’t seem to be playing any game of thrones any more. So the similarities end here. You might have difficulty finding it in your local library since it’s pretty old.

Score Breakdown:
Story/Plot (50%): 5/5
Character Development (25%): 4/5
Writing style (25%): 1/5

Total : 3.75/5

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