Please note that before you read this review that I am reviewing this publication for Scholastic UK! I received an advanced readers copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. In no way is my opinion influenced by the fact that I received this free of charge. Now on with the review!
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Publisher: Scholastic UK
Publication Date: February 4th 2016
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
The Sin Eater's Daughter was the introduction to this fantasy world. A book where medieval royalty plagued the lands, where confinement and routine are drilled into your minds, where treachery and betrayal looms around every corner. The Sleeping Prince took that initiative and developed it beyond my expectations. Focusing on a completely new character, The Sleeping Prince introduces us to Errin, her story and the trials that she faces in her day to day life. Whilst Errin's story plays out, in the background the Sleeping Prince is awake and his hell-bent revenge and path of destruction knows no bounds.
Errin's tale was totally different to Twylla's and I found myself so engaged for completely different reasons. Whilst I admired Twylla's bravery to survive, I also loved the shared interest to survive from Errin, even if the scenario she was in was completely different. I really loved the contrast between Errin and Twylla - one full of fear and passion and the other embodied by mystery and hope - their narration really makes the story and I'm so glad that Melinda decided to tell their tales in two halves.
Delving into this whole other world, the dynamics of Errin's life are unique. Life as a apothecary has it's hardships for Errin, fighting to survive for a simple meal and to keep the roof over her head, let alone having to deal with the loss of her father, a missing brother and a mother whose mental health is declining so badly it's becoming a danger to herself and Errin. When war against the Sleeping Prince threatens Errin's doorstep she becomes thrust into a world of alchemy, magic and darkness. Her only lifeline is Silas, and the hope of a mystical cure for her mother that takes her across the realm with the threat of the Sleeping Prince hot on her tail. With the introductions of familiar faces woven throughout, readers will be delighted to wonder in this mythological infused fantasy. You'll just have to ignore the brutal and merciless trail of bodies that Melinda leaves in her wake.
For those of you who have read The Sin Eater's Daughter, you will know that Melinda isn't afraid to take risks, but considering the prologue of The Sleeping Prince leaves readers with a blood volume higher than Dracula's private storeroom, fans of Salisbury's lust to defy reader's expectations will be eternally satisfied.
In my review of The Sin Eater's Daughter I mentioned that I would have liked to have explored the history and mythology of the Sleeping Prince more, and in this book my desire was granted ten-fold, as Salisbury crafts a mythical lore that will leave readers in awe. The Sleeping Prince is not a force to be reckoned with and the passion in his mythology brings his tale to life. It is truly phenomenal and I cannot wait to see where his vengeance takes the story next.
All in all, the journey that this book takes you on and the woven themes that are presented in both books make this series easily one of my favourites. Whilst I may not be able to completely put my finger on why, it's unique development of it's characters gives this story an edge over other YA titles currently out there. It's no wonder that Melinda's book has been nominated for so many awards, it's truly a magical tale. The Sleeping Prince leaves readers with an epilogue that screams continuation, and whilst 2017 seems like an absolute age away, you can be assured that I will be on the waiting list to read the novel first. I award The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury a 4 out of 5 stars on my classification scale.Congratulations Melinda, you've provided a delightful adventure for young readers to explore, find themselves in and to be completed absorbed by.