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Posted September 10, 2001
& 1/2 stars. A very good debut.
The Prince of Shadow is Mr. Benjamin's debut novel, and it's a good one. I finished the book in 2 days, and by the end of it, was enjoying it a lot. The plot itself is ripe with potential and could yield lots of wonderful things. Mr. Benjamin's writing and story telling is above average. I only say this because, at times, it seems he's too eager to get from one part of the story to another, and merely glosses over events and situations that would have more impact and consequence if he took a bit more time in telling/showing them. Not that he must mire his story in wordiness, but if events are supposed to be important, then give them their due: love, torture, death, protection, betrayal, etc. Llesho's character, in the beginning, comes across very wooden and unsympathetic, and at times erratic and inconsistent in his protrayal. But by the end of the novel, I grew to like the character and did hope that he would succeed in his endeavor. Llesho's young and naive to the ways of the world and politics. Sometimes, this comes across as stupidity, arrogance and ambivalence. While these are not traits that I want in a 'hero,' these are believable traits for a 16 year-old. While I did come to like the main character, the 'arch nemesis' fell flat for me. There wasn't much in the story to build up the mystique of the enemy. I do hope that will change in the next book, that he'll develop an enemy that I will want to hate. Among some of the other characters that Mr. Benjamin creates, some were more memorable than others: Master Den, the laundry washer, whom I hope to see and learn more of; Mara, the healer; General Shou; Master Jaks and Bixei. All in all, despite some mis-steps, The Prince of Shadow promises to be very fulfilling a story. I look forward to reading the next book.
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