ARC Review: THE DESERT PRINCE by Peter V. Brett

I received an eARC from the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on an orange sunray with a figure in middle
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - first book


Book cover for THE DESERT PRINCE: figure in glowing robes surrounded by gold sunburst

Fifteen years have passed since the end of the war with demons, creatures of darkness who have hunted the night and plagued humanity since time out of mind. The heroes of humanity’s hour of need have become legend, and those who remain struggle to escape their shadows.

Olive Paper and Darin Bales have grown up in this new peaceful world. Demons have been all but destroyed, but dangers still lurk for the children of heroes.

Olive, Princess of Hollow, has her entire life planned out by her mother, Duchess Leesha Paper: a steady march on a checklist to prepare her for succession. The more her mother writes the script, the more Olive rails against playing the parts she is assigned.

Darin faces challenges of a different kind. Though free to choose his own path, the weight of legacy hangs heavy around his shoulders. It isn’t easy being the son of the man people say saved the world. Everyone expects greatness from Darin, but the only thing he’s ever been great at is hiding.

But when Olive and Darin step across the wards one night, they learn the demons are not all gone, and those that remain hunger for revenge. Events are set in motion that only prophecy can foresee as Olive and Darin seek to find their own places in the world in time to save it again.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


THE DESERT PRINCE is the second thick book I have read recently that is the first entry in a spin-off/sequel series that I have not read. I could follow along easily enough without that prior knowledge. I suspect the references to the previous war would have meant more, not to mention the connection to the “older generation”, who I suspect are the main characters of the first series.

The world was interesting enough, with the various cultures existing under a hesitant peace after the war before – though one the main societies focused on is at odds with it. But what really gave the book heart was Olive’s journey to self-discovery. Raised as a girl, kidnapped and forced to live as a warrior man, Olive identifies with both and neither.

The main thing, though, was that this book is long, and it felt it. It took me several days of deliberate effort to get through. It failed to grab me to the degree needed to make the book feel like it was passing quickly. Instead, it did take a lot of effort to keep going as I just wasn’t hooked enough to be desperate to know what would happen next.

I think one of the reasons was the book would spend pages and pages on one of the POV chapters, without any mention or word of the others. And then there would be a long section from the other POV. It made it feel unbalanced. By the time I’d finished one POV’s section, I would have just gotten into that POV and lost interest in the other. So then I had to adjust and the cycle would happen again.

I’m not sure I’ll read any further, because I don’t think I was interested enough to invest the time in reading what will doubtless be a lot of equally large books.


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