Friday, August 24, 2007


From the first few sentences of THE PRINCES OF THE GOLDEN CAGE, you know right away that something is up.

I sat straight up in my bed. I knew someone was coming because my two insane brothers, Jafer and Mir, were screaming bloody murder.

Screaming bloody murder isn't a phrase that we encounter a lot in the United States. Imagine someone screaming just as loud and hard as they possibly can. What a way to wake up.

However, Prince Amir is savvy. He has positioned his room between his insane brothers to act as a sort of alarm system. A servant has brought the grim news of the death of one of Amir's 117 brothers. They think magic was involved, so they brought Amir to investigate since he is known to be a scholar. However, he is also a suspect.

Prince Amir is a captive in a cage, where all the princes are kept until an heir is decided upon. There's not a lot of brotherly love here. Amir's thoughtful caretaking of his insane brothers is as close as it gets.

Therefore, Amir goes to investigate his brother's death. Here is where I had a small quibble with the plot. He barely recognized his brother. If you lived with 117 people all your life, you should know each of them by name. In a typical high school, a student has 6 classes with 25 students per class. That equals 150. Well before Christmas, I always knew each person by name, and everyone else in all my classes did as well.

I was willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps each prince is isolated, so that they hardly know each other. At this point, I'm not sure so I had a "huh?" moment.

What follows is a deepening mystery. The dead prince had some sort of spell on him. The plot quickly turns into a murder mystery, complete with a mysterious locket, a prince-brother who seems to be up to something, rivalry between Amir and his brothers, and intrigue galore. PRINCES is told in first person from Amir's point of view. The writing is straightforward and transparent, sucking you into the setting. The dialog flows well, occasionally becoming a tad melodramatic. However, the melodrama might be appropriate to the setting. Will comment on this more as the plot progresses.

I like Amir, mostly because he looks out for his insane brothers in a touching manner. I too, want him to be able to escape his golden cage and venture out into the city beyond, a city famed for its beauty, but which Amir has never even glimpsed. I also like the setting because it's so different from what I usually encounter in fantasy. Just a few posts ago, I asked for a setting besides medieval European, and now I have it!

My excerpt ends when Amir meets his mysterious brother, who wants to talk. I'll have to wait until I have the book before I find out what they are going to talk about.


Anonymous said...

It is explained why the brothers hardly know each other sometimes. You will probably encounter that soon.


Tia Nevitt said...

Cool! I'm hoping the book comes in the mail today.

Maria said...

Thanks for changing the colors, Tia! It looks GREAT and I can read it quite well!!!!

As for knowing 117 people--not me. I came from a relatively small high school and we generally had 20 or so students per class and probabaly 100 or so in each "grade." I might have known...half or so by name by the time I graduated. That's 3 years with the same faces, although some of them were probably never in my actual classes. Out of 100 graduating students, I probably could have named half. I would probably have recognized MOST of them as going to my school, but might not be able to tell you whether they were in my classes or not.

There is NO WAY I knew them all by name. It wasn't something that even would have occured to me to try and do. :>)

So it probably has to do with how social a person is, how much they interact (I lived 30 miles away from the high school so spent almost zero time with most people on after-school activities. I didn't see them in the community because we shopped in a different town than the school and also attended church in yet a third location.) Then too, I also have a very good memory for faces and almost zero recall of names. To this day, I can remember people I worked with 10 years ago that worked down the hall from me for at least a year. But for the life of me, I cannot recall their names...

Tia Nevitt said...

I went to a high school like I described, six classes with 30 people each. By Halloween, the teachers knew all the students, and all the students knew each other. Believe me, I was no prodigy!

Can I remember them all today? No way!

But Remy says there was a good reason for the princes not knowing each other. I was hoping to get my copy in the mail today, but I guess I'll have to wait until next week.