Review: Waking the Prince by Shawn Lane

WakingThePrinceRating: 1.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Short Story


Roland is a young man who lives in a tiny village with his mother. He has no father, no friends, and no idea about the future fate has in store for him.

Magnus is a powerful warrior come looking for a lost prince and for his father, who had been sent into exile with the infant prince, a prince who was going to be taught statecraft, swordcraft, and cunning. Instead, Magnus finds a sleeping beauty beneath a tree with golden hair and a mouth made for kissing. This beautiful boy is his lost prince.

Magnus’s father, Thaddeus, is long dead and Roland knows nothing of his destiny as a prince. He knows nothing of ruling a kingdom, of defending himself, or that he is the one destined to kill the evil sorcerer holding his family hostage. All he knows is that Magnus makes him feel things, things he doesn’t even have words for. Something in Magnus makes Roland believe him, and makes Roland determined to put an end to the evil magic user ruling over his kingdom. He’ll need ever bit of help Magnus can give him and then some if he’s to prove the prophecy true.

Roland is… sheltered. He’s lived all his life in a ‘village’ of six houses, forbidden to socialize with the other residents of Amir. All he knows is his mother, hunger, and hard work. However, Roland’s skin is still pale and smooth and untouched by his hard life. Indeed, his porcelain pale skin is still creamy and beardless. Personally, I find this a bit unbelievable, but in a book about magic users and prophecies I suppose I can let a perfect complexion slide. We’re never told how old Roland is, but I can’t help but think he’s rather on the young side.

Magnus is a warrior, roughly a foot taller than Roland. He’s dark, physically fit, and fulfills the usual “tall, dark, and handsome” criteria of a love interest. His first reaction on seeing a sleeping man on the side of the road is to think about taking advantage of him. To be honest, that’s pretty much all there is to say about either Roland or Magnus. One’s short and fair, one’s tall and dark. One’s a fighter, one isn’t.

There are a lot of problems with this story. There isn’t much of a plot beyond good prince must kill evil mage — who we know is evil because he sleeps around. Oh, and because everyone calls him evil. — and that’s it. The story is very, very loosely based on Sleeping Beauty, with a prince spirited away for his protection, a wall of thorns and a dragon thrown in, a sword instead of a spindle, and then it’s a chapter to the end and all’s well that ends well. The pacing in this story is all over the place with weeks passing between paragraphs with neither warning or explanation. It’s as if the author just wanted to move on to the next scene and the reader has to try to keep up.

This feels very much like a first attempt at a book, or a rough draft of a story. There are holes in the plot, a distinct lack of personality in the characters, no romance — just a sex scene — no world building, no motivations beyond the most cartoonish. Personally, I don’t think this book was ready to be published. There’s a lot of telling rather than showing, and yet at the same time, not enough telling. There is so much clumsy phrasing and confusing paragraphs that I kept having to go back to figure out what the author was saying, wondering if I’d missed something. This is a hard pass from me, and I cannot recommend it to anyone.

elizabeth sig

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