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.