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Crescent Blues Book ViewsBerkley (Paperback), ISBN 0425199207

The Prince by Elizabeth Minogue unfolds slowly. Minogue takes her time establishing her world, which includes the countries of Valinor, Venya, and Sorlain. She takes her time letting the reader get to know her characters: Princess Rose of Valinor, the exiled Prince Florian of Venya, and a whole host of people who love or hate them. Bit by bit we learn the customs of their countries, the history that binds the countries together, and the magic that the powerful among them may wield. To learn all this takes time, but the reward is well worth the effort.

Book: elizabeth minogue, the prince

Rose of Valinor seeks sanctuary with Florian, the exiled prince of Venya. She fears her uncle, the evil King Richard, whose many crimes include the invasion of Venya, the murder of Florian's parents, and the false imprisonment and torture of Rose. Florian, however, desires above all else to retake his country and to free his people from Richard's rule. His plans do not involve rescuing a princess, especially one who may be a spy -- or mad. But Rose refuses to go back to Richard, and she wins passage on Florian's ship. Soon she embarks on a voyage to win Florian's heart as well as freedom for the Venyan people.

Rose and Florian emerge as two of the most complex and nuanced characters I have encountered in a work of fantasy romance for a long time. Minogue creates a character-based novel instead of an action-based one, and the entire plot revolves around Florian's obsessive desire to reclaim his place as prince of Venya. He will use Rose to that end if he must. The processes by which he learns to accept help from those around him and Rose learns to function in the outside world she came to fear drive the plot. The reader ends up with two deeply flawed but entirely believable lead characters.

My one complaint with the book involves the conclusion. Without giving away the ending, I can only say that for me the novel ended too soon. Minogue hints at what will come for Rose and Florian, but after spending so much time with them, I wanted to read their future for myself. The desire to read more generally indicates a good book, and in this case I agree. Minogue delivers a fine book about the power of magic, home, and love.

Kathryn Yelinek

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