Monday, September 7, 2009

REVIEW: The Immortal Prince by Jennifer Fallon

Series: Tide Lords Quartet, Book 1
(c) 2007, TOR Fantasy, HarperCollins
585 pages, Mass Market Edition

Author's Website


Cayal, the Immortal Prince, is tired of millenia of living, and he thought he found a way to solve his problem. Unfortunately, a botched hanging leaves him very much alive and in full possession of his memories. So,back to prison he goes. Meanwhile, Arkady Desean, academic historian and the Duchess of Lebec, is sent to interrogate the man who claims to be the Tide Lord Cayal and to prove him a liar, and in the process, she finds herself not quite believing--yet also not quite disbelieving--his tale...


Jennifer Fallon weaves an intriguing tale, which twists and turns all throughout, and she obviously ascribes to the maxim, "Things are not what they seem." The story is written from the points of view of many persons, each of whom contributed to make the story whole, and from each of their perspective, we see how the world and the gods of Amyrantha are viewed by the different factions--humans, gods, and Crasii (half-human, half-animal creature).

I love a good yarn, and this story certainly delivers. Aside from which, there are 3 more books to look forward to in the series! I've heard that this series (all 4 books) has been published and read by the Australian public, but Book 3 is just going to be published in the US in 2010, and Book 4 the year after. I'm just going to have to exercise my patience to wait (unless a good Samaritan from Australia wants to send me the books, anyone?), but at least I'm assured that I'll complete this series some time down the road.

Jennifer Fallon's gods are interesting, because they weren't gods who came into being from nothing or whose origins are unknown, but they were once mortal who were then made immortal. Their powers also come and go with the Tides. At the start of the book, the tide has been gone for a long time--a thousand years, if I'm not mistaken--and the Tide Lords have faded into legend and memory. Because of this, Cayal has a hard time convincing Arkady that he is indeed a Tide Lord. And he couldn't do anything to prove it, because when the tide is out, the Tide Lords lost all their powers, though they remain immortal.

Rarely too does a book make me think, but this one did. Death is not a topic we like, nor one we ruminate about. If possible, we run from it as far away as we could. I think that's why the Fountain of Youth is so popular. If it were possible, I think each one of us would like to live forever, so that we'd get to do ALL the things we want to do, read ALL the books we want to read (I know I'll need a few thousand years), and be secure in the knowledge that we won't die.

Yet, Cayal presents the other side of things. Just think of the license we'd have with immortality. We can do things without repercussions, because we needn't be afraid we'd die, even if we were punished. Continents could be blown up and civilizations wiped out, but what do we care? We're still alive at the end of it. And so, we have Cayal, a man who's lived for over 8000 years and has seen and done everything, and aside from the pain he's also suffered from his actions, some of these things sickend and depressed him so much that he wanted to die to get away from it all. He was tired of living, the way we sometimes are, but in his case, he has lived through 8000 years. Only he couldn't. And that's very frustrating.

Perhaps the author is right and man isn't meant to live forever. Perhaps man is meant to live only an average of 80 years, a limited time that would prompt him to live wisely and choose to fill his life with people and activities that would enrich (not in the material sense) him. Cayal said the fun is in the journey, and in this, I agree with him.

If Cayal were the hero of this series (because in a fantasy series, one never knows), I'm not sure if I like him very much. He's not the typical romance hero, definitely, heroic and made larger than life, but he's all too like us--human with flaws and prone to selfishness and making stupid calls in life. I don't know if meeting Arkaday (or thousands of years of living) will make him a better man, but things he's done in his past made me cringe and wonder how he could have done such things.

However, this story is more than just Cayal's and Arkady's romance. There is a larger game at play, one which involves all the other Tide Lords. I believe this first book serves the purpose of introduction and laying down the foundation that the Tide Lords existed, and the story takes off from Book 2 onwards with them gaining back their powers and ready to wreak havoc once again in human lives. Reading the blurbs of the succeeding books on the author's website, however (I dare not read the excerpts), makes me wonder if the romance between Arkady and Cayal will feature a strong portion or not. I guess I'll have to wait and see.

This is definitely a great start to the series and I'm interested to see how Cayal will evolve and mature/grow in the next books, and how his budding relationship with Arkady will affect him. To be honest, the back cover blurb didn't draw me in, but once you start reading, Ms. Fallon's way with words will hold sway over you and won't let go until you've read the last page.

Book Rating:



The Raving Reader Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon