Official Stuff –
Author – Justin Somper
Pages – 496
Publisher – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series – Enemies of the Prince
Prince Anders, the ruler of Archenfield, has been murdered, leaving his younger brother, Jared, to ascend the throne. Sixteen-year-old Jared feels unprepared to rule the kingdom and its powerful and dangerous court, yet he knows he can rely on the twelve officers of the court to advise him. He also knows he can just as easily be at their mercy-especially when it appears that one of them may be responsible for his brother’s death. Unable to trust anyone, Jared takes it upon himself to hunt down his brother’s killer-but the killer may be hunting him, as well. Murder, betrayal, and intrigue abound in Justin Somper’s thrilling YA series debut. Exploring the political machinations of the medieval court and the lives that hang in the balance, Allies & Assassins is a gripping tale of a teen torn between duty and revenge.
My Rating – 3 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this novel from LibraryThing on behalf of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for a fair review.
This book was fairly interesting. A bit young for me, more middle grade but still decent.
The Prince has been murdered, died in the night screaming and hallucinating, with only his wife by his side. Word travels fast, and soon Jared is told of his brother’s death and that he will be ascending to the throne. He also must oversee the investigation into his brother’s sudden passing.
He not only has to deal with his own grief but also taking over the throne and leading his country through the loss of their beloved Prince. (Archenfield is a Princedom not a Kingdom, the ruler is a called a Prince instead of a King. I don’t quite understand the purpose of that but whatever.)
The investigation happens fast, a little too fast actually. The suspected assassin is found the next day. But Asta, the physician’s niece and apprentice has some doubts. Some things don’t quite add up. It also doesn’t help that other members of the royal court start dropping like flies.
It becomes pretty clear that there is a bigger plot going on. Asta and Jared join forces to figure out who is behind the assassinations before they can reach Jared.
I liked Jared well enough. He was picked to be the heir at only 14 and he’s had only two years of training before having to take over the country. He thought he would have much longer to prepare. He doubts his ability to lead. We don’t really get to know him though.
Same with Asta. She’s a good character. Head strong, smart. She isn’t used to court life, her uncle only recently bringing her to court to be his apprentice. She breaks court protocol on several occasions. But we don’t get to discover her likes and dislikes or anything in-depth about her history. That actually happens with all the characters. I feel like I didn’t really get to know them.
Also, early in the book (in the first few chapters) a plot to kill the Prince is revealed, but it’s not the plot that actually killed him. So these would-be assassins are left scratching their heads at who did it and why the Prince was murdered. But then they move their sites onto Jared. I don’t know if I liked this or not, because for the rest of the book I kept going DON’T TRUST THEM. OMG JARED.
However, the actual assassin was a real surprise, I had no idea. The dialogue could’ve been better. It was a little cheesy as time but it wasn’t terrible.
A decent start to a new series.