Friday, March 15, 2013

Review of: The Summer Prince By Alaya Dawn Johnson

The Summer Prince
Title: The Summer Prince
Author: Alaya Dawn Johnson
Published by: Arthur A. Levine
Released: March 1, 2013
Summary: June Costa lives in the technological paradise of Palmares Tres, a city created out of necessity after natural/nuclear disasters and the Y Plague that killed off a majority of the men. Because of this plague and man's habit of ruining things around him. Palmares Tres is ruled by women. Every 10 years, the public comes together to elect its Summer King, who will live for a year and then be sacrificed and through his sacrifice he will pick the Queen who will rule for the next 10 years. June Costa finds herself very involved in this years election. She hopes that a boy named Enki from the Verde will get elected and when he does, June's life starts to change. As June gets to know and love the real Enki, will she be able to let him go at the end of the summer? Enter the lush, fantastical world of Palmares Tres to find out.
My Thoughts: I just want to thank Netgalley and Arthur A. Levine books for letting me review an eARC of this book. My enjoyment for this novel grew with the more that I read. In the beginning, I wasn't too sure about whether it would be my kind of book or not. And, while The Summer Prince was different, it was a good, enjoyable kind of different. I loved the world building and writing style of Alaya Dawn Johnson. She created a beautiful, fantastical, futuristic, and slightly barbaric world and her writing had almost a lyrical and otherworldly quality to it. 
The structure of Palmares Tres reminded me of the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the famed Amazonian women warriors all mixed in with opulence and technology. Just a very cool world.
It's definitely not a typical YA story, in fact, I don't think I would recommend this for younger YA readers. I think the writing style is more advanced and their are some suggestible, adult like scenes. Also, our main teenage characters were kind of free with their affections and sexuality.
While I did really enjoy this book, there were aspects of it that made it not as great. I felt that the whole reasoning behind electing and then sacrificing a Summer King wasn't very well explained. The same goes for the Y Plague and whatever disaster happened to the world to pave the way Palmares Tres, Tokyo 10, and other cities like it. Another thing that hindered my enjoyment of the novel was the jumpiness of the story. For some people, this book might be a little too weird and out there. I will say that the more I read, the more I was drawn into the world and the characters.
All in all, I enjoyed The Summer Prince. I grew to like the main character June as the story went on and found her journey throughout the story to be captivating. I also enjoyed the art aspect of the story, the outlandish art exhibits and projects that June creates to be recognized by the city. Enki remained an absolute enigma throughout the story. I also loved that this story had an ending.
Overall, The Summer Prince is a very interesting and enjoyable story that will grow on readers as they progress through it. Just let the story take you away to the beautiful and vicious city of Palmares Tres.
Interesting and Fantastical!

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