Larkin and Denan have escaped Hamel with her mother, and her two youngest sisters. But Bane was left behind to face the Black Druids, and her sister Nesha was left behind as well. When Larkin discovers a few disturbing facts about her magic and about the pipers taking more young women, she struggles with her role as princess of the Alamant and previous resident of Hamel.
What is Piper Prince about?
In the follow up to Stolen Enchantress, Argyle addresses the conflicts between the Idelmarchians and the Alamantians from the perspective of a newly powerful Larkin. Magic in hand and her husband back by her side, Larkin must straddle her two worlds while escorting her mother and sisters to safety. Her heart wants to be with Denan, but it also wants to see Bane freed after his heroic attempts to save Larkin’s life from the Black Druids. In Piper Prince secrets are revealed, family ties mended, and the building conflicts between the two worlds of the pipers and the Idelmarchians steadily rise despite the threat of the darkness.
Genre: YA Fantasy
As with the previous novel in this series, Piper Prince is firmly a fantasy story. There are far fewer elements of the fairy tales that were used in the first book, instead focusing the plot on the conflicts facing Larkin both on a personal and on a broader level. Magic plays a more prominent role in this story, bringing greater levels of the fantasy elements into this installment in the series. Additionally, there are other elements of high fantasy such as political intrigue and massive battles that have shaped this series from fairy tale retellings to true fantasy.
Plot: Dramatic AF
Yeah this novel had a LOT of twists and turns, which I’m beginning to think is characteristic of this series as a whole (perhaps even the author). In Stolen Enchantress, there’s a lot of action that happens seemingly out of nowhere and that theme is definitely repeated in Piper Prince. Some of the action is built up to and discussed enough, but things still move incredibly quickly.
Tropes: A Chosen One crisis?
I’m not sure if this is really a trope or not, but a major crisis in the course of this novel is the identity of the “Chosen One” figure meant to break the curse over the Alamantians and the Idelmarchians. Larkin possess the first women’s magic in hundreds of years, and yet there is still a focus on finding the girl whose power will truly break the curse in its entirety and defeat the darkness of the wraiths.
I think there are elements of this story that are rather unique, and make for an interesting fantasy world. Giving us several characters that aren’t aware of these fantasy elements gives the author a narrative reason to explain elements regularly. However, to a certain extent, the frequent explanations become tedious. Having new characters in this story that are both familiar and yet unfamiliar with the world was an interesting way of gaining new perspectives. Larkin must struggle once again with how she feels about being one of the Taken, despite her embracing her love for Denan. She must struggle with the vehement dislike of the pipers that her mother has, as well as argue for the rights of the Taken while also acknowledging the needs of the Alamant.
Occasionally, rushed action is important to a story. A sudden skirmish or change of plans can excite the reader and really emphasize the urgency of a situation. Overused, though, that much action can become tiring. Stolen Enchantress was a lot of build up with payoff that was decent but not perfectly well written. Piper Prince was a lot of action with very little build up and very little payoff. While some of the action makes sense and was necessary coming off the back of the action of Stolen Enchantress, a lot of it felt rushed through and forced. Particularly, there were certain conflicts that obviously need to happen before the final climax of the series as a whole but frankly did not need to happen in this book. A lot of the descriptions became tedious, either because the character was not where the most interesting action was happening or because things were too rushed to be written well.
I’m going to revisit what I mentioned in the “tropes” section earlier about the “Chosen One” plotline. Minor Spoiler Warning for both Stolen Enchantress and Piper Prince. In the first novel, Larkin is made to believe that her ability to use women’s magic makes her something special. She is the woman meant to break the curse on Alamantians and Idelmarchians alike, the woman that Denen was destined to find based on his visions. In this novel, Larkin slowly comes to the realization that she hasn’t broken any curses and she actually has a crisis about it. Which is…interesting. She is the first woman to wield magic in hundreds of years, she actively uses that magic periodically, and she still has an actual break down about the fact that she isn’t the special Chosen One? To the point that she makes some pretty bad decisions? Larkin is frustratingly bad at decision making, always ruining her plans with her emotions even when she is actively working against her feelings. Not the best character to base a series around…
I do enjoy this series so far. It’s easy to read, easily accessible (the first two books are available on Kindle Unlimited and it appears that once the third is published it will be as well), and does have some interesting ideas and fantasy elements. I would be interested in seeing some actual character development, though, as there was far too much action going on in this novel for Larkin to grow (and too many side characters for any of them to do so as well). I feel that the plotline regarding Larkin’s heritage was an unnecessary and unfulfilling addition, though it has promise if it’s followed up on in the next installment. There was far too much action for my taste in this book, especially with so little payoff and build up. Nevertheless, I’m still invested in the overall plot. I want to see the payoff for the Copperbills (can’t say too much there because spoilers), and I want to see more loose ends tied up instead of more being introduced.
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