Overview (No Spoilers):
As a fan of Brett’s The Demon Cycle series, I have been so looking forward to reading how he would expand and evolve this literary world in The Demon Prince. Taking place fifteen years in the future, the babies of this first series are now on the cusp of adulthood, with all of the teenage angst that comes along with this age. Additionally the adults of The Demon Cycle have become living legends and shoulder all the responsibilities that come along with that status. With over a decade of peace and prosperity in the absence of the corelings, the people of Thesa, especially the youth are bordering on complacency in the warm glow of safety. An unexpected sequence of events soon shatters this illusion of safety as the night yields forgotten and newly cunning dangers that when paired with a kidnapping and mysterious disappearances, threaten to destroy everything the Hollow has worked toward.
Brett has written this story in a way that it is not necessary to have read the first series, with the events of The Core, clearly established. This simultaneously benefits fans of The Demon Cycle as it was easy to brush off the literary dust and remind us of who characters are without requiring a reread. That said, this book as a whole triggers nostalgia for the previous series with familiar locations and characters, but with the spotlight firmly on the younger generation, Brett maintains a fresh feel throughout.
The Demon Prince has more of a young adult feel compared to the first series, though I’m wondering if this is a result of the age of the POVs or if the series wll age up as Darin and Olive mature. Interestingly, as the story progresses the teeagers are already evolving as they are forced to endure new hardships, but the overwhelming teenage emotions, alongside polarized views, and insecurities rule the rushed decision making throughout. That said, while there is a distinct YA feel, there are several battle scenes and the aftermath that are cringe-inducing and firmly in the adult category.
Overall, The Demon Prince is a perfect balance of nostalgia with new characters and familiar dangers, albeit with novel, deadly tricks.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- I loved Olive’s character! She grew so much throughout this novel, especially with the trials she had to endure. Along the way, she was allowed to figure out who she wanted to be, instead of who she was expected to be.
- It was fascinating to see how Brett tied the dice to each of the characters, from Olive to Darin. Yes, the dice were a major part of the first series, however the weight of the prophecies seemed to hang extra heavy on our characters throughout The Demon Prince, especially as it dictated their lives from an early age
- What happened to all of the adults? Ahman, Leesha, and Renna are taken off of the playing board early, leaving their children to find their way alone. Does the Demon Prince still have them?
- I was shocked the Demon Prince made an appearance (though perhaps I shouldn’t be based on the title)! That whole sequence of events was insane, especially the battle scene at the end. How will the world be able to survive his plots and manipulations with all of the experienced fighters out of the game?
- Darin’s insecurities grew rather tiresome, though you could see him gaining confidence as the story progressed.
- What if there is more to the prophecy, “Father waiting below”, than the Demon Prince lying wait? Could Arlen show up again?
- Micha’s death was especially hard. Olive took her for granted and the warrior had given up so much to protect her charge.