Prince of Persia

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Overview

BEYOND THE LEGENDARY GAME – THE LEGEND ITSELF

Long ago in Persia, there lived a Prince — a man of honor, of valor, and full of strength — a man for his people, who lived with them and took on their trials and hardships. And he was loved.

His name is no longer remembered. When people speak of him, they call him merely, 'The Prince of Persia,' as if there have been no others, and his descendants are enjoined to ...

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Overview

BEYOND THE LEGENDARY GAME – THE LEGEND ITSELF

Long ago in Persia, there lived a Prince — a man of honor, of valor, and full of strength — a man for his people, who lived with them and took on their trials and hardships. And he was loved.

His name is no longer remembered. When people speak of him, they call him merely, 'The Prince of Persia,' as if there have been no others, and his descendants are enjoined to live like him, to be like him, to the ends of their days.

Long ago in Persia, there were many princes, one following another, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes fat, clever, joyous, and all more or less honorable. And in some of those princes there shone the spirit of The Prince of Persia, for in Persia time spins like a wheel, and what is to come has already happened, and then happens again, year in and year out.

This is the story of two of those princes, and of the destiny that threads their lives together.

Created by Jordan Mechner, the Prince of Persia graphic novel is beautifully written by poet A.B. Sina and opulently illustrated by LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Lauri Berkenkamp
The saying that no movie is as good as the book from which it was adapted takes a new twist with this graphic novel. Based not on a movie but on the video game of the same name, this absolutely incomprehensible book details overlapping stories involving murder, rulers, displaced princes, water rights in the desert, ghosts prophecies, and lots of battles involving swords and beheadings. Unfortunately none of it makes any sense to readers unfamiliar with the video game from which it is derived. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book explaining that the story told in the novel is not based on any history and that any connections readers may make to real events, places, or people are the reader's responsibility. Because the story line is virtually impossible to follow, there seems little danger of making any historical or cultural connections at all. Readers who have played the immensely popular video game "Prince of Persia" may understand the overlapping story lines and the characters who step in and out of the narrative, as well as the significance of various settings, animals, and jewelry, but for the uninitiated, the book is a confusing mess. One interesting component of the book, however, is the afterword by Jordan Mechner, the original game creator of "Prince of Persia." Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp
Publishers Weekly

Video gamers should enjoy this byproduct of a popular franchise. As game creator Mechner explains in an afterword, the original Prince of Persia was widely played in the early 1990s and famed as one of the few video games that had a story line with literary merit. It's been upgraded several times with somewhat different versions of the hero, which Mechner justifies as reflecting the fluid, dreamlike nature of Eastern storytelling. Sina's script for this book lays out two stories simultaneously, echoing and overlapping each other. In the 9th- and again in the 13th-century Persian city of Marv, a rightful prince is denied the throne, a vizier lusts for power, a courageous damsel fights for her lover, etc. The characters can't be sure whether their knowledge of events comes from memory or prophecy, creating a multi-leveled narrative that reflects the game, although readers will need to keep track of which hero is performing on a given page. There's plenty of action, and the artwork by Pham and Puvilland is suitably vigorous and exotic; however, without the thrill of participating in the action on-screen, reader involvement is limited. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Amanda MacGregor
Loosely tied to the popular video game of the same name, this graphic novel imagines the prince's origins. The tale moves between two time periods and sets of characters. In the ninth century, Layth's father is killed by Saman, who then raises the child along with his own children, Guiv and Guilan. When Guiv and Layth have a falling out, Guiv goes into hiding.There he is hailed as the Veiled Prophet of Marv, and reveals the prophecy of a man who will be born and kill the rulers and the ruled. In the fourteenth century, a boy named Ferdos fulfills the foretelling. Each prince, in his own time, must seize power and avenge the wrongs he witnesses. The parallel time lines and characters often make the story difficult to follow, as it is hard to decipher what time period the reader is in and how characters fit together. Pham and Puvilland occasionally vary their illustrations to indicate a switch in time, usually by altering their color palate, but a more distinct tone for each prince and his story would help readers move more smoothly between narratives. The lush, full-color images are powerful and carry much of the story's action. The two princes' legends mesh well at the end. Their struggles are shown side by side on the page, pulling together their common goals, linked history, and ultimate victories. Fans of the video game, the built-in audience, should be satisfied with this challenging and complex exploration of the prince's back story. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
KLIATT - George Galuschak
Prince of Persia is a graphic novel based on a video game. It features two intertwined storylines. Guiv, a Persian prince, has visions as he's being drowned in a pool on the orders of his brother-in-law, the king. His life spared thanks to the intervention of his sister, Guiv retreats to a deserted citadel to live in the company of lions, with only a talking peacock to keep him company. Fast forward 400 years (to the 13th century): Shirin, a Persian princess, wants to learn the forbidden dance. During a rendezvous with her instructor she meets Ferdos, the Guardian of the Waters, who is related to a prophecy regarding the destruction of the city. Prince of Persia is a graphic novel that challenges the reader. I found the jumping back and forth between timelines confusing, at least on the first read. It also draws heavily on Persian mythology and history, much of which is unfamiliar to a Western audience. Since it was written for a Western audience a tad more guidance might have been in order. With that said: this is a fascinating graphic novel that uses the trappings of Persian mythology to construct a rich, multifaceted world; multiple readings are recommended. Prince of Persia is not for younger readers; there is a lot of violence, some of it quite gruesome (severed tongues and eyeballs). There is also some disturbing imagery and mild profanity (donkey turd). Recommended for high school and adult graphic novel collections. Reviewer: George Galuschak
Library Journal

It began as a video game, but this is a graphic novel with plot fixed within pages. Yet the interlocking and cyclical nature of the story, which flips back and forth across time, lends a sense of shimmer and uncertain potential. In the ninth century, an uneasy trio of prince, princess, and princess's brother leads to chaos and to a prophesy: four centuries hence, the palace of Marv will fall, and a new prince will rise from the waters. Jumping to the 13th century, we drop into the prophesy in action: the rebellious daughter of a corrupt official runs off in boy's clothing to join the rebels and discovers the prince-to-be hiding in the aquaducts. Both stories proceed in tandem, and eventually the pieces come together. The solid yet beguiling art incorporates colorful touches from Arabic graphic design and seems to move with the characters. And move they do-there is little dialog here but pages and pages of well-done action that carries much of the tale. Fire, fighting, escape, insurrection, and subterfuge concern these feisty princes and princesses, and even Genghis Khan drops in near the end. Recommended for high school and up owing to considerable mayhem and murder, plus discreetly portrayed sexual content.
—Martha Cornog

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

This book, based on the classic computer game (the latest version of the game is due to be released in November 2008), tells the story of multiple heroes and heroines. Fans of the original games may be better well equipped to understand the time shifts as the action flashes forward and backward between centuries, but any readers looking for adventure should enjoy the chases, fights, and political intrigue. There are several grisly scenes of leadership gone wrong, as multiple victims are decapitated or have their tongues cut out. And the divide between the haves and the have-nots is clearly illustrated by the battle over the precious water supply. The pages are filled with vibrant colors and stirring images; the palette begins with a spectrum of desert browns, which make vibrant hues like peacock blue and blood red stand out even more against the colors of sand and bone. In an insightful afterword, game creator Jordan Mechner writes about how this character has evolved over time in various incarnations. This is an excellent recommendation for computer gamers and the fan base that will emerge for the forthcoming (2009) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie, and a good choice for everyone else.-Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Completing a solid evolution from video game to graphic novel, Mechner and Sina breathe life, passion and legend into the original concept. Told through intertwined narratives set four centuries apart, a prophecy serves as an anchor between the concurrent threads: "a palace must fall / and a prince must rise from the waters..." Pham and Puvilland's vibrant, bold art creates a lush backdrop for this intense tale. Though largely based in fantasy, elemental themes-earth, fire, air and water-provide a firm sensory foundation. Readers will feel the desiccated, scorched desert earth of the peasants, cut off from water by the evil rulers; know the fiery heat of battles, rage and injustice that have spanned centuries; experience the wind beating under the wings of a philosophizing peacock; and understand the cooling relief as water protects and nourishes. This complex epic demands careful reading and a keen eye to detail. Combine these intricacies with a sprawling, visually literate landscape of love, lore and violence, and the result is a fine saga for older readers. (afterword) (Graphic fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
Starred Review in Booklist

After enjoying various forms as a video-game character, the eponymous prince finally leaps from the screen to the page in this magnificent and complex graphic novel.  The prince, according to each iteration of the game, which has spanned nearly two decades, has been everything from an “Aladdin-like street urchin” to a “battle-hardened fugitive.”  Here, he is manifested in two parallel stories that twine about and bleed together like twin wisps of smoke.  One takes place in the ninth-century city of Marv and features a prince of the run from his destiny as his kingdom is assailed from within.  The other takes place 400 years later, in the same city, as a princess discovers a young man in the ruins of the old palace, hiding from a doomful prophecy.  The stories can be maddeningly complex to sort through, but that really only adds to the fascination, with distinct color palettes and visual clues to help sort out matters when the chronology becomes difficult.  No mere video-game rip-off, the end result is a story defined by layers instead of linearity, with drama, adventure, and revelation all unfolding in equal measure resulting in a book that’s even better with repeat readings.  A forthcoming movie about the prince will only increase interest.  – Ian Chipman

Starred Review in Kirkus

Completing a solid evolution from video game to graphic novel, Mechner and Sina breathe life, passion and legend into the original concept. Told through intertwined narratives set four centuries apart, a prophecy serves as an anchor between the concurrent threads: “a palace must fall / and a prince must rise from the waters...” Pham and Puvilland’s vibrant, bold art creates a lush backdrop for this intense tale. Though largely based in fantasy, elemental themes—earth, fire, air and water—provide a firm sensory foundation. Readers will feel the desiccated, scorched desert earth of the peasants, cut off from water by the evil rulers; know the fiery heat of battles, rage and injustice that have spanned centuries; experience the wind beating under the wings of a philosophizing peacock; and understand the cooling relief as water protects and nourishes. This complex epic demands careful reading and a keen eye to detail. Combine these intricacies with a sprawling, visually literate landscape of love, lore and violence, and the result is a fine saga for older readers. (afterword) (Graphic fiction. YA)

Review in XBOX Magazine

The Prince of Persia is an enigma.  He’s never the same person, in the same time, living the same adventure.  This graphic novel embodies this mystery with the dual storylines of Prince Guiv in 9th-century Persia and Prince Ferdos in 13th-century Persia.  Authors Jordan Mechner and A.B. Sina took a purposeful retreat from the conventions of Western storytelling, introducing a Middle Eastern flair to an audience of loyal fans.  Guiv and Ferdos have no enemies but the passage of time, and nothing to stand in their way but their own thoughts and actions.  All other antagonists are minor annoyances as the two heroes search for enlightenment – a connection between their life and the rest of existence.

Fans hoping for the puzzle-solving action of the game will be surprised at the complex inner battles that take place in this beautifully drawn novel from illustrators LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland.  While an initial reading may confuse as much as dazzle, the somber adventure across centuries may be the Prince’s most epic journey yet. 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596436022
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Jordan Mechner’s videogames, including Prince of Persia, Karateka, and The Last Express, have received worldwide acclaim. Over 14 million Prince of Persia games have been sold around the world. He is also the author of Solomon’s Thieves, and he wrote the script for the Disney movie adaptation of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Mechner sold his first game, Karateka, while he was still an undergraduate at Yale, and then moved directly on to creating Prince of Persia. These were among the first games to combine arcade action with realistic animation and cinematic storytelling, and both titles became #1 bestsellers and are now considered all-time classics. In 2003, Mechner wrote and directed the documentary Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award. He lives in Southern California.

 

A.B.Sina has written for film, magazines, and journals in North America and around the world. Born in Iran, he now works between Montreal and wherever else he can manage. 

 

LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland are happily married in art. LeUyen has produced several acclaimed picture books for children, including her self-authored Big Sister, Little Sister. Alex has worked as a visual development artist for Dreamworks Feature Animation and on numerous films.  They live in San Francisco with their son Leo. 

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    For years I've heard of Prince of Persia as a video game, but as I don't play games I didn't know much about it. When I was given the chance to review the new graphic novel inspired by the video, I knew I wanted to take a look. Graphic novels in general are something relatively new for me. I think of them as like picture books for older readers. So many times when my daughters were young we would read a picture book over and over again, and each time we would see something we missed in the illustrations when we read it before. Or, we would look for some of our favorite scenes.

    As with picture books, illustrations carry the story in graphic novels too. There's often not much back story that can't be found out through dialogue and pictures. Which means graphic novels, while they can be read quickly, are more enjoyable when they are read slowly.

    This is definitely the case with Prince of Persia. The action takes place in the kingdom of Marv during two centuries, the 9th and the 13th. The two story lines are similar in some ways: a restless population, both good and corrupt rulers, the people looking for a savior. If you race through it all, it can be confusing, even though the different time periods are depicted in different tones. As I read I found myself going back a few times to clarify what was happening in one place or another. That's when I realized I needed to slow down.

    While Prince of Persia readers may definitely call to mind scenes from The Arabian Nights and Disney's Aladdin, this isn't a book for very young children-violence includes quite a few severed heads and tongues. But the story, once you grasp it, has a few twists that make it enjoyable. It could be fun for mother-daughter book clubs to read this graphic novel, go together as a group to see the movie, The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, then gather to talk about both. The movie is rated PG-13 for violence, so consider that when deciding to take on both adaptations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2010

    This is not the Prince I know!

    My opinion about this book is that the plot is a complete mess. I really could not relate the main character with any version of him on any medium.
    It seems like a completely new approach to the character(even though it is the original graphic novel).
    I did like the art on the book.

    I can honestly say that I have never so confused (and uninterested). Dot get me wrong, this is not a "strange" or "weird" or "intellectual" plot. It doesn't go anywhere, and secondary characters have highly unimportant interventions, i.e. some character eats a lot of figs because he is constipated! This does nothing to the main plot. It could be argued that adds "humanity" to a otherwise two-dimensional character, but believe me, it doesn't.

    Grab it if you have to have everything Prince of Persia, but I'm sure you'll be unsure where to place your book amongst your collection. My suggetion: place it in the "misfired-spin-offs" section.

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fun, light little adventure

    I picked Prince of Persia up as a fan of the games and of the general adventure genre of the Arabian Nights style.

    The story was intriguing and thoughtful. It's presented as two stories set ~400 years apart with the first story creating and influencing the legend/action of the second story. The stories are presented side-by-side allowing the plot points to expose themselves gradually which leads to a feeling of mystery and intrigue. The female characters felt stronger to me than the male characters both in terms of their strength of mind and their initiative and drive to get things done.

    The art was clean and simple while still detailed enough to really draw me in. The tone created by the art changed based on plot points but was generally fairly light (after having recently read Watchmen, the art here felt almost airy). Some of the depictions of violence were fairly graphic...it wasn't spewing blood, but the violent imagery was pushing PG-13 at times.

    The art and the plot were fast paced and kept me scanning from panel to panel and page to page quickly. I think I flew through the book in about 40 minutes. Which was my main complaint. I wanted more. The depth there was good and the story flowed well. I just felt like it was over too quickly. There was a little deus ex machina that sped things up a little bit, but the story itself flowed well. I think mostly I would have loved to have seen the book double in size, stretch a few segments out, and add more scenes before ending.

    The book also came with a very cool afterward by the developer/designer responsible for the first Prince of Persia game and involved in creation of the subsequent titles. Having worked in video games, I was really interested by his description of the creation of the initial games and of how the process changed for the later titles. I also really liked his insight into the adventure stories and histories that helped inspire the games and the book. I'd been looking to read Arabian Nights and he recommends the translation I'll likely use.

    ****
    3.5 stars (out of 5)

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    Prince of Persia graphic novel - solid for those who follow the game

    In my opinion, the Prince of Persia graphic novel was an easy read that provided some interesting background information on the Prince of Persia world. The are was of a high quality, and the writing was good. My only complaint would be that it jumped around between a number of characters with a relative frequency to the point that, at times, I had to really focus to figure out exactly who had done what. I would strongly recommend this to people who are fans of fantasy graphic novels, and especially to those who have played, or want to play, the Prince of Persia games.

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