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Seven Princes (Books of the Shaper, #1)
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Seven Princes (Books of the Shaper #1)

3.14  ·  Rating Details ·  557 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
An ancient necromancer slaughters the king and his court in front of the crown prince D'zan. From that moment, his life is consumed by one thought - to regain his throne. Others will join him, some will oppose him. In a world where men and giants fight side by side against monsters and new power, only one thing is sure - war is coming.
Paperback, 497 pages
Published January 2012 by Orbit
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Dec 24, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The cover gives the promise of Heroic Fantasy, of which I’m quite a fan. On hearing a brief synopsis, Seven Princes to me sounded like a fresh take on the genre, so I was quite excited when I got a copy for review.

And having read it... well, it’s not.

The plot is basically The Magnificent Seven (or Battle Beyond the Stars, if you prefer), but using Princes instead of cowboys. Prince D’zan’s father, King Trimesqua, is slain by an army of the undead resurrected by Elhathym, a mysterious stranger wh
S.E. Lindberg
Seven Princes by John R. Fultz is Epic, Digestible Dark Fantasy.

The Author Interview was a nice extra in which Fultz acknowledges the authors who inspired him, namely Clark Ashton Smith, Tanith Lee, and Darrell Schweitzer. I found Fultz’s writing to be more accessible than these authors, but less deep/intellectual (in this work); though poetic language is frequent. Seven Princes reads as a Young Adult version of dark fantasy and pays homage to Lovecraft and Howard in many ways. Most characters a
Sep 17, 2012 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Epic fantasy filled with wonders and terrors and war and strange magics. Fultz lists as his influences Clark Ashton Smith, Tanith Lee, Darrell Schweitzer and Lord Dunsany, which means he couldn't have aimed this book more directly at me if he'd tried. Highly recommended.
Jan 09, 2012 Terez rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was very uneven, but ultimately worth the read. Unlike other fantasy series which seem more like historical fiction with just a sprinkling of supernatural elements, Seven Princes is reminiscent of classic sword-and-sorcery yarns with an emphasis on the sorcery.

Ironically, this is both the book's greatest strength and weakness. For me, it was refreshing for the fantastical elements of a fantasy to take center stage. It's one of the main reasons I read the genre - pure escapism. While s
Feb 14, 2012 Dee rated it did not like it
Harks back to an earlier time, when magic didn't need to make any sort of sense, the age of legends could be within a generation, and women were either princesses or wenches. Or maybe evil sexy sorceresses. Or maybe shape-changing non-talking animal spirits who make perfect life companions. It doesn't get any better.

It's a valid literary choice, I suppose, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. Or that I won't make disparaging remarks about those who make it.

I was going to read the whole thing
Feb 20, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best epic fantasy books I've read in ages. The style is more akin to Moorcock or Howard than Martin or other modern fantasy authors. There were a few minor quibbles I had with character development & plot progression, but nothing to the point that I lost interest in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the ending, and in the style of most epic fantasy or even pulp fantasy, there were more than enough plot threads left for the next book. I enjoyed this book immensely and am looking forwa ...more
Dave-Brendon Burgh
Back when I was given an ARC of Seven Princes I was immediately taken in by the cover-art. The scene depicted, through what seemed a haze (post-battle, if you will) and a definite tenseness, seven figures standing, looking out at the reader or, more probably, facing what they’ve just overcome or preparing to stand against what’s coming. As with all good covers, there was an entire story in that cover, and thinking back there’ve been two other occasions when I had the same reaction – when I first ...more
Feb 05, 2012 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting started with this book. At about 30% in though, it started to congeal and started to suck me into it.

I see a lot of reviews of people that had trouble finishing the book, or simply did not finish and I can understand. Like I said, it takes a bit for a flow to establish itself. Once it does, this turns into a solid epic fantasy with fun characters and some decent action and bloody scenes.

One thing of note here is "Seven Princes" stance in common fantasy tropes; It does
Martin Owton
Seven Princes, vol 1 of Books of the Shaper, is fantasy so high that it is a danger to passing aircraft. The main characters are all Kings, Emperors, Princes or sorcerors or a combination thereof – there’s a princess but she is also a sorcerer. They live in enormous palaces with vast hordes of treasure, eat sumptuous feasts, ride magnificent stallions, wear gleaming breastplates, carry enchanted swords, cross desolate mountains, face dreadful dangers, and sometimes the description goes on a bit. ...more
Fletcher Vredenburgh
Fultz writes crazily over-the-top fantasy. If you're a gamer of a certain age and remember Arduin that's the sort of world he's created. Good, good stuff
Milo (BOK)
Original Post:

I’ve been anticipating this début ever since I saw the awesome cover art on Orbit’s website sometime last year. However, if I’m being honest, I nearly didn’t pick up Seven Princes, after reading several negative reviews about it. But, in the end, the cover-art and the blurb won out, so I decided to give John R. Fultz a try, eager to see what a new author would bring to the epic fantasy. After all, novels such as the Riyria Revelations series
Danielle McDowall
Bit disappointed with this one. I always enjoy a book with multiple POVs and this book seemed fast-paced enough to make that work.

Unfortunately, it was a little bit too fast-paced and at times, uneven. The characters were two-dimensional and all fell into the usual categories. Relationships developed to unrealistic, flowery levels. I also felt the female characters weren't too well written in general.

It's a book that doesn't stand out in the fantasy genre, sadly. It comes across as a bit too ent
Feb 28, 2013 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2013
I picked up Seven Princes with rather high hopes. Words such as 'wonderful epic fantasy', 'gripping', and other nouns were used to describe the book, and when it comes to a new epic fantasy I couldn't pass it up. Unfortunately, the experience I had with this novel didn't live up to anything I had heard about the book.

Entering Seven Princes, I thought that the concept for the book was rather captivating. It wasn't unique by any means, but it had the potential to create a good epic fantasy. Unfor
Dark Matter
Jan 12, 2014 Dark Matter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review was written by Lauren Schroder for Dark Matter Zine. This and more reviews, interviews etc are on Dark Matter Zine, an online magazine.

Seven Princes is the first of the Books of the Shaper, a high fantasy epic.

D’zan, a youth of 16 is the only son of King Trimesqua of Yaskatha. Tragedy strikes for the young Prince when his father is brutally murdered by Elhathym, who is a highly powerful sorcerer and necromancer. In a cruel twist of fate the ancestors o
Nov 14, 2011 Phil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Here's a extract from my review, full link:

Seven Princes is an example of conventional heroic/epic Fantasy. An evil is coming to the world and it's simply and literally evil. Its incarnations are found in the apparition of an ancient being from the void of immeasurable power and an empress thought long dead. If the conventional adjective was to be removed from the epithet I affixed and even be replaced with original or surprisin
Jan 25, 2012 Ruth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
c2012. Why, at times, is spec fiction mixed up with YA? I ordered this book because I am a regular prowler of the Orbit book site and saw this was due to be published this month - under the Fantasy section not the YA section. I was excited about the synopsis but now am disappointed - one of those "nice from far, but far from nice". The one star rating may be a little harsh as I have to admit that I could not finish this one. I gave it a good go but within the first 2 pages I found out that the p ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
When I read this book I kept thinking that this book will get a conclusion, cool. And it did. Everything ended all nicely, but then, oh yes then there was that one loose thread and I realized that this is a series. But is felt like a different sort of series since it did have an ending. No cliffie at all (sort of.)

The story also felt kind of old school, and I love old school fantasy. A prince flees as an evil sorcerer kills everyone he holds dear. On his trip north he meets more princes and toge
Amy Chamberlain
Jun 10, 2012 Amy Chamberlain rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stay-away
Sigh. Sometimes the books, they disappoint.

I wanted to love this book. I should have loved this book. The premise is great! An evil wizard-type destroys an entire court and city-state (except for one prince) with these neat-o weaponized undead beings. The naive Prince escapes north with his Handy Bodyguard-type to discover the world and raise an army to help get his kingdom back. Meanwhile, in the north, there are some cool things happening with the giants and half-giants: family secrets, betray
Jun 25, 2013 Elijah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audio-books
I'd really give this book 2.5 stars, but I had to force myself to finish it, so I am rounding down. The book's premise and initial chapters are promising enough, but about halfway through (despite the breakneck pace at which the plot moves), the story seemed to slow down painfully. I was also turned off by the sword and sorcery type chauvinism and machismo that filled the book. There were whole sections I had to tune out (I was listening to the Audible audio book) because of this; there were als ...more
May 10, 2012 Gene rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not exactly sure what happened with this book -- despite some decently engaging magical scenes, overall this was a tedious read. The characters were fine; a bit stereotypical, but well-formed enough for basic fantasy. And the backstory of the fantasy world was adequately drawn. It should have been more fun to read than it was. A big problem was the descriptions. While the language was vivid and often elegant, there was also just too much of it, sometimes without a strong point-of-view, so th ...more
Jacob Donley
Nov 16, 2012 Jacob Donley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
SEVEN PRINCES, by John R. Fultz, was, in many ways, a traditional fantasy story. I often felt like I knew what was going to happen in many of the key points. However, don’t let that deter you from purchasing the book. I thought it was a very entertaining read. I enjoyed the emotions of the main characters, the fight scenes, and much of the back story and histories of the people of this world. I also thought that the idea of ancient people with unimaginable powers would create a nexus of power th ...more
May 13, 2012 Ernest rated it it was ok
When Emhathyn, an ancient sorcerer, raises the dead to kill Trimesqua, King of Yaskatha, the king’s son, Prince D’zan, escapes to gather allies from the kingdom’s allies to regain his throne and have his revenge. At the same time, a ruler of another kingdom, King Vod, rules over a city where Giants and Humans peacefully coexist. His four children are different in personality and type, and when King Vod leaves court to atone for a wrong in his past, his eldest son, Prince Fangodrel, is outraged a ...more
Greyson Floyd
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. It is full of interesting concepts, and some unexpected twists early on, but I think what it came down to was simply that it was trying to do so much that everything suffered. There are several plots and subplots going on at once, so the author tries to really flesh these out, while using the writing style of there is no ONE main character, there are lots of them that are trying to be developed at the same time. The end result was that I found n ...more
Jan 10, 2015 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sounded like a good epic fantasy, but I gave it 100 pages and couldn't continue. There were several parts of the world and of different plot threads that were interesting on their own, but didn't seem to come together well; might have worked better as separate stories instead of several trying to mash together at once. Female characters are casually disposable objects, with the possible exceptions of one princess and one queen, who didn't get enough 'screen time' in that first 100 pages to see i ...more
Fantasy Literature
Trimesqua, King of Yaskatha, is murdered by Emhathyn, an ancient wizard who raises the dead to kill everyone in the palace. The young Prince D’zan manages to escape, helped by his faithful bodyguard Olthacus the Stone, and sets out on a quest for vengeance. To retake Yaskatha, he seeks the help of other rulers, including the two princes of Uurz: the strong warrior Vireon and the scholar/writer Lyrilan.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, King Vod rules the city of New Udurum where Giants an
Andrew Lawston
I just really didn't enjoy this. There was a freebie copy of Seven Princes in my Sci-Fi Weekender bag back in February 2013, and I ploughed through it in spite of not enjoying it. I don't really know why I persisted, and the moment I finished, it went into a bag bound for a charity shop.

It's a 500 page behemoth of a secondary world fantasy novel about war, sorcery and the death of parents. There's a commendable amount of world-building and stuff, but I could never truly engage with any of the pe
David Biondi
This book was pretty good. I picked it up when I got an email from Orbit saying it was on sale this month. The over all idea of this book is awesome. Seven princes faced with an impossible task to kill the bad guys and meet some would be princesses. The story flowed really well but went by a little fast for me. I would have liked to seen some more character interaction and more dialogue in general. I felt like he was more focused on world building and painting a picture of the landscape. Don't g ...more
I have tried three times to read this as it sounds so good, but I can't get past the first 50 pages. They take so long to set up the storyline and the characters don't feel fully formed so i just can't care if they live or die and that is a deal breaker for me. At 497 pages in paperback, that is long enough for me to have to care to invest that much time in book one of a trilogy. Up to page 13, I love it, then it shifts point of view and I no longer care.

The world sounds really interesting with
Leonard Anthony
Jan 12, 2012 Leonard Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took some time but I finally finished this today! This is a refreshing take on the epic fantasy. The author fast-tracks through map travel, magic studying and sword training, in fantastic package for the people with not too high attention spans. This reader, for one, appreciates this effort. The "slow burn" present in too many fantasy classics is eschewed to ensure a book that throws twists and new plot points every other page, rather than every other volume. The unsubtle presence of magic also ...more
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John R. Fultz lives in the Bay Area, California, but is originally from Kentucky. His fiction has appeared in Weird Tales, Black Gate, and Space & Time, as well as the comic book anthologies Zombie Tales and Cthulhu Tales. His graphic novel of epic fantasy, Primordia, was published by Archaia Comics. John’s literary heroes include Tanith Lee, Thomas Ligotti, Clark Ashton Smith, Lord Dunsany, W ...more
More about John R. Fultz...

Other Books in the Series

Books of the Shaper (3 books)
  • Seven Kings (Books of the Shaper, #2)
  • Seven Sorcerers (Books of the Shaper: #3)

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