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The Tale of the Hostage Prince

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Astounding world building set within the narrative of a young man, Yosua, just trying to figure out who and what he belongs to. However I struggled to connect and found out this isn’t the first novel of the series. Would have definitely benefited from that

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First, before I read this, I know that this is part of a series (book 1.5). I think because it was a novella, so I didn’t particularly need to read the first book. But, I can’t deny that I had quite a hard time to connect. And I also read without knowing the Glossary at the very end. So, I suggest, if you would rather not read the first book, read the Glossary first. Because everything you need to know to understand the story better are there.

This is a wonderful fantasy story about finding ourselves. To know who we really are, our calling, where our true heart belongs to. It tells about Yosua, a king of Bayangan kingdom. Even though he’s a king now, but he spent most of his life as a ‘hostage’ in another kingdom, Maha. His heart was also belongs there because he had dearly friends there. So, the crown was quite a burden for him. While he’s trying to find justice when his parents were murdered, someone tries to tear apart the kingdom and even attempting to kill him.

The book has great pace and depth. The world-building is rich, the political issues are complicated (and frustrating, but I know it’s true). The characterization is strong to the point that I was so frustrated when Yosua is in struggles, and I hate the antagonist very, very much. I love that this book also bring us to contemplate about the meaning of faith (in general).

Thank you, NetGalley and Publishers for the eARC, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Huge thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for providing an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All of the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
This was an enjoyable read overall, but a few things could have made it better:

1. The description at times was too much. Although the settings, cultures, religions and other information were vividly explained, it could have been done without the copious use of info-dumps.
2. A little bit of background about what happened in the first book of this series would have been helpful. Just a simple few lines about what transpired.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars

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This is a good fantasy of young man trying to be comfortable in his own skin. Yoshua is a new ruler of a country that he did not grow up in while longing for the place where he has friends, people have a similar faith and a culture that he knows. When his parents are murdered, he must try to prevent his country from tearing itself apart and going to war with the country where his heart is. Meanwhile, someone is trying to kill him and oust him from his rule.

This is the second book in a series. I did not read the first one. While it was easy to understand what was going on, it is obvious that there are a lot of emotional bonds and context that is missing from not reading the first book.

Tan has created a rich world. The characters have depth and there is action. She examines what it means to be torn between two cultures and which one do you follow? Is it possible to create a path that incorporates both? She, also, dives into the meaning of faith (not of any religion that exists on Earth). What do you do if the path you thought was so clear is not so clear after all? What do you do if you are torn between duty and where your heart lies? There is substance to the storyline not just adventure, though that is there too.

I enjoyed this book. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for an honest review.

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The Tale of the Hostage Prince
by Anna Tan
Pub Date 14 Apr 2022
Teaspoon Publishing
Christian | Multicultural Interest | Sci Fi & Fantasy

I am reviewing a copy of The Tale of the Hostage Prince through Teaspoon Publishing and Netgalley:

Yoshua finds he is wearing an uneasy crown. Despite the fact that he is now Raja of Bayangan, he still longs for the land of his birth where everything was much simpler…and less deadly.

Unfortunately peace does not come easy, especially for a twenty year old servant placating to become a king.

Yoshua’s parents were brutally murdered and now his Uncle is bent on revenge. But Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?

If you’re looking for an action packed read I recommend The Tale of the Hostage Prince.

Four out of five stars!

Happy Reading!

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Tan does a great job at worldbuilding--so much so, it took me a bit to get into and wrap my brain around (foreign, for me, places, names, etc.)! Not a bad thing at all, and indeed something I think J. K. Rowling could have capitalized on rather than doing "British" vs. "American" versions of _Harry Potter_, lol. I was challenged a ton, even as an adult reader--so I think that young adults (the target audience) would be equally challenged, in a good way.

There was more violence in the book than I typically go for--think Bourne, Mission: Impossible, etc. in a fantasy book. The descriptors were vivid (which was also a mixed blessing, lol), and mental images they conjured were all too real in my mind--sometimes too much so. There was also a passing conjecture of two (male) characters being lovers, which I felt was disappointing and unnecessary.

Tan is obviously a talented writer, and this book is evidence of that. A couple missteps for me, hence 3/5 stars. I may try another of her books and see how it goes; not sure I'll read subsequent books in this series.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

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I need more non-western fantasy STAT. This book was such a lovely and captivating story of magic, religion, friendship, and the challenges of being a “third culture kid.” Yosua is my hero, and I loved spending time with him. I’m so thankful I got an ARC from Netgalley and the publisher, and cannot wait to read more from the author!

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