The Oddling Prince

288p. Tachyon. May 2018. pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781616962890.
Gr 9 Up-Aric is a teenage prince, sole child and heir to the throne of a medieval Celtic region. Life is turned upside down as his father lies dying, cursed by a magical ring, until the sudden arrival of a handsome young stranger on a white horse. Albaric, the half-fey stranger, mysteriously saves the life of King Bardaric with a thread of his mother's magical hair. Aric is drawn like a magnet to Albaric, and it is soon revealed the two are brothers. The king remembers nothing of his time in the fey kingdom and struggles with the information that he has a second son. Fearing for his throne, the king's behavior grows violent and erratic. Aric and Albaric must try and find their places in the world among paranoia, inter-clan distrust, and songs of ancient myths. The relationship between Albaric and Aric is unusual. Their closeness could just have easily been construed as sexual attraction rather than brotherly love. Though simple enough, the overarching plot is slow burning. Clunky writing and obscure word choice make this work a slog. The old-fashioned dialogue and writing style could be difficult for readers with a more modern preference.
VERDICT One for those with a taste for the deliberately archaic. A supplementary purchase for large collections.-Lauren Jones, Tauranga City Library, NZ

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