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ARC Review – The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

The Oddling PrinceThe Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received an e-arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I was sure I would love this book. Sadly I was mistaken. This book and me … we just didn’t work out.

The Oddling Prince takes place in the ancient moors of Scotland (yes, please!) and starts with the King deathly ill. He has a ring on his finger that is of elfin origin an cannot be removed in any way. Then a handsome and mystical stranger appears to save King Bardaric. He has his very own reasons for doing so, and the secret he carries with him could very much destroy not only the royal family.
It is a tale of two brothers, fiercely loyal to each other and having to face, wrath, hatred, war and maybe even fate.

I loved the premise of two brothers finding each other and standing up against everyone else together, truly loyal to one another. But, I didn’t click with the story and it was certainly not what I expected. Their relationship was too quick and their feelings sometimes bordering more on the romantic side than the brotherly type. But they never crossed the line, so it was all fine. Still, rubbed me the wrong way. Even so, that wasn’t the main issue for me. The plot was basically non-existent for the first half, at least excitement-wise and after that, it felt a bit all over the place, too quick and predictable in certain plot points.

The writing style is very fairytale-like. And irked me so much! I couldn’t stand it. It created a distance to the characters that prevented me from caring whatsoever what happened to them.
In the style of fairy tales, everything was quite simplistic. Their feelings very clear, the rage enormous, the sentences short and the plot .. well, not really that engaging tbh (not that that is the case in fairy tales. I usually adore them).

I debated dnf-ing this book at least three times, but as I hate to do that, I powered through. And that was a good thing as the last third of the book did pick up and was sometimes fairly entertaining.

The only two characters I liked even a bit were Marissa, with her honesty and innocent bravery, and wise Queen Evalyn. I disliked pure Aric, didn’t care for Albaric or anyone else sadly. And since I prefer characters over plot … well, you see my difficulty with enjoying this book.

I can certainly see why some people enjoy it so much. As I said, it read very much like a longer fairytale, a thing I always wanted to read. I liked the focus on the brotherly relationship (even though it was too quick, too pure for my liking) and the end was enjoyable too.

‘Albaric came in the window, another sort of Elfin ring — the glimmering red-gold coil of his mother’s hair — in his hands. He tucked back into his tunic and sat on the floor beside me, his silence asking many questions. As did mine. But before I could settle on one, Mother said simply, “It was like this,” and she told her tale. Clash of metal on metal, sword upon sword. Screams of men in rage or mortally wounded. Those were the sounds that had awoken her and her handwomen from sleep two mornings ago.’

This is an example of the writing style. Which in theory, I quite like, just that it creates a distance to the story, the characters that made it hard for me to connect, to care. But if you don’t think that will be an issue for you, go ahead and read this book. It does have a lot of potential. It might just be a case of: It’s me, not you, book.

It was very disappointing as I thought I would fly through this book and love it. It was supposed to be my easy read and get me back into reading. It was quite the opposite. I had to force myself to pick it up for the first 60% of the book. As I already said, the part after that was better, easier to read and as Marissa came into the story a bit more enjoyable.

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review – The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer

  1. Glad someone felt the same way we did! We dnf’d due to the fairy tale writing style. It was cute for the introduction, but we just couldn’t continue with it for more than one chapter. Great review and kudos to you for powering through!

    Liked by 1 person

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