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Prince Ombra

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  486 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
The World has found its new hero.

The problem? Bentley Ellicott is only a kid.

Bentley has secret powers. And he's going to need them. Bentley is a hero - the thousand and first to be exact - in a long line of heroes that has stretched all the way back to antiquity. Heroes like Arthur and Hercules.

And now: Bentley.

That's because there is an evil in the world that never dies
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 15th 1994 by Orb Books (first published 1982)
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(showing 1-30 of 805)
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Apr 26, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature children (12 or so) through adults
Recommended to Melanie by: My mother
THE CURRENT VERSION IS ABRIDGED! ONLY READ THE OUT OF PRINT EDITIONS. I bought the current edition for friends and was disappointed and saddened to learn they really didn't like it. But after discussing the book with them, things started to sound fishy. I checked out the edition I had bought for them and realized it had been abridged and bowlderized to make it into "children's" or "young adult" fiction. While the original book is not inappropriate for young adults, it is not written as young adu ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Tess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't know how I heard about this book, but I had it requested out of the library and in my hands within a week. And it sat in my library bag for almost three weeks while I read through my ever-enjoyable Jacqueline Carey series, a couple mangas, and even a romance novel. Finally, I only had this strange book, Prince Ombra, left to read. The cover on the copy I had showed a rocky shore with two ospreys in the foreground, and very tiny off in the distance two people sitting on the rocks. The sto ...more
Ron Grunberg
Mar 11, 2008 Ron Grunberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've read this book probably three times. I still have it, might well read it again.

Nothing like it.

Kids communicating in ways you only dream is possible, or might hardly not remember. Sub-verbal. With genius.

Great drama. Life-defying twists. A real sleeper. Who knows about this book?

Otherwise, the guy's a political writer from Washington, D.C. Go figure.
Mar 06, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I read it in high school (thanx Michelle) I have purchased more copies of this book than any other book (I loan it out and never seem to get it back). Top 5 of the greatest books I have read..... ever!
Sep 17, 2009 Emrys rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2010 Trynity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-and-reread
Bentley Ellicot is and will probably forever be, my favorite hero of all time. He is an unlikely hero, in that he has learned spells from the crabs, and is able to speak to animals, however most people, see him as a cripple. He is young and kind and helpful, and he is born knowing many things, specifically, his destiny.His heart has been that of a thousand different heros, including King Authur, and Homer, and that with this gift he has been given, he must defeat the essence of evil in the world ...more
i found a really old copy of this book at a garage had this crazy bright opalescent cover and looked like a completely trashy airport buy that would live next to all the Sword of Shanara books. But it's one of the most interesting looks at heroes and evil I have ever read. It even held up under re-readings. It's like the last Harry Potter book before Harry Potter was even written...
May 19, 2007 Salathiel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy/arthurian legend lovers
There are some books that just resonate deep inside of you. This is one such book for me. It incorporates arthurian legend and you can never go wrong with that.
Lisa H.
Sep 17, 2011 Lisa H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I still have my original paperback of this book. (The white background is iridescent. Pretty cool, but then, I'm easily amused.)

Read Prince Ombra before I'd ever even heard of Joseph Campbell and The Hero With a Thousand Faces - I don't know whether MacLeish knew Joseph Campbell at Sarah Laurence, or whether he just read Hero, but the path of his eight-year-old character Bentley Ellicott is absolutely the one Campbell wrote about: Bentley initially rejects the idea that the strange things that s
Robert Hookey
Oct 12, 2012 Robert Hookey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I still remember reading this book as a boy; it blew me way and took me to places I had never dreamed of visiting. The darkness of the human condition was still a mystery to me, but not for long...

I still love this book.

Apparently the current edition has been "softened" - significantly - but hopefully the edition that is circulating out there still has the "bite" of the original.

The concept of the reluctant hero is certainly nothing new, but MacLeish brings us a hero who has fought the same batt
George Johnston
Jun 11, 2011 George Johnston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up in my twenties and it lay about for a while unread, I kept putting off reading it until one day when i had nothing else at hand to read. And discovered what turned out to be one of my favourite books ever,an unlikely child hero Bentley who it turned out was the latest incarnation of a long line of heroes such as Gilgamesh Arthur etc who defend the world against evil as manifested in Bentley's time as Prince Ombra.Just as i'm writing this i think i must dig out the book and ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A revisit to a book I read back in the early 80s... I've seen in the other reviews here that there is an abridged version, but this one is the original I picked up at a drugstore 30+ years ago. This was "Young Adult" before such a genre existed. Perhaps the new abridged version dumbs it down a bit.. or removes some of the uglier bits. There are some allusions to sex, infidelity and sexual assault that probably wouldn't make it in today's "YA".

This book was written around the time of a re-surgenc
Teena R.
1.5 stars.

I really like the opening. Perhaps it is because I like Sally more than Bentley so I found his story rather slow and tedious. The "Hero of thousand lifes" idea is interesting but the execution is rather bad. We just have this name-dropping instead of a fully developed/integrated mythology.

The writing style is also a bit of a problem. It tried to hard to be poetic but ends up breaking the pace of the story instead.
Ketan Shah
Takes many of the central ideas from classic mythology and weaves them into a compelling narrative.An 8 year old boy is the 1001st hero of the borrowed heart,who must face what he fears most to defeat Prince Ombra,the corrupter of men.Reads like Stephen King's Gunslinger novels or Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. Also reccommended for all fans of Orson Scott Cards Alvin Maker Series.
Dec 09, 2007 Sayard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who believe that good can triumph over evil
I have read this book so many times I have lost count. But everytime I re-read it, it's like reading it for the first time all over again.
I found bought this book for a dollar at a second hand bookstore, and it has been one of my most treasured finds. Everyone should read this book. It is a sad thing that not more people know about this wonderful jem.
Feb 27, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2013
Good book... if you get an earlier edition of it. The 2002 one has a bunch of edits that end up making the story confusing; it even keeps references to things that were completely cut, so you're left wondering, "Wait, what big secret was revealed? I didn't read any secret being revealed just now." Thank goodness for Pica, I say.
Mar 17, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book is magic - that's a quote from one of it's reviewers and it has always stuck with me. the author blends together ancient stories and mythologies into this incredible tale about a young boy who must face the embodiment of 'evil.' i read it when i was about 13 and have never forgotten it.
Mar 03, 2013 Andria added it
Shelves: retro-reads
oh, WOW. I just found this book again completely by accident. I know I LOVED it as a teenager but couldn't remember anything about it except the cover, which I copied for an art project in high school. I'll have to track down a copy and re-read it.
Mar 24, 2008 Holli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book when I read it a long, long time ago. I loved this book when I reread it a long time ago. Now I am a bit jaded and tired of all the stories about kids saving the world. But this is still a fucking awesome book.
Stephanie Carrin
This is one of the best young adult fantasy books ever... IF YOU READ THE OUT OF PRINT EDITIONS! Be warned that the latest edition heavily edits and censors the book, which I'm sure is making poor Roderick spin in his grave.
It is certainly an interesting read, even if it goes against almost everything I believe. It's about a kid who was born with a hero's heart (apparently, souls cycle in and out of this Nirvana-esque place, and only "heros" remember their prior lives or the time before/after death), and who fights against Prince Ombra, the source and magnifier of all evil. It does a very good job of portraying quite a few people in town, and I like Prince Ombra himself. All seven brains and hurricane-body of him. ...more
Jackie Cheung
Jun 16, 2008 Jackie Cheung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book because of the face that its kind of like Harry Potter. The character Bently, does not know he has powers. His powers will be used when Prince Ombra arrives. I found this book really interesting.
Robert Weinstein
Apr 25, 2015 Robert Weinstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good friend gave me this book in high school. I'm not sure why she gave it to me or why she thought I'd like it but she ordered me to read it so I did.

I loved the book at the time and read it again a few years ago and still loved it. I didn't realize the updated version had been edited, so that was disappointing but the story still sucked me in. Bentley's a fine hero and the psychiatrist is all mystic and crap but the idea of a hero having to confront [redacted so as not to give it away] is a
Cynthia Egbert
Jul 24, 2008 Cynthia Egbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the favorite books from my youth. A great discussion book as you try to engage young people in learning what their personal mission might be...
Jennifer Busch
I read this book the first time when I was about 12 years old. At the time it was one of my favorite books and I reread it several times as a teenager. It's been many years, though, so I thought I'd give it another try.
Still a good book. But... It didn't hold my attention the way I remember it did. The plot plods along and made me want to skip sections (actually, I did get to a point where I would read the first line of a paragraph and then move on to the next paragraph). I found many of the ch
Apr 14, 2009 Kimba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book incredible. I still have my copy from high school...dang, I think I shall read it again!
Ellen Hing
Jan 05, 2008 Ellen Hing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
scary how similar to current time this book is, since its supposed to take place in the 80's.
Steve Martinez
Apr 11, 2008 Steve Martinez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this one when I was younger also. A great read for a young teen. This one was a gem.
Apr 05, 2008 Tasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a very strange book. Enjoyable, but strange.
Jul 06, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time reading Prince Ombra as an adult. It had been my favorite book of all time since around age 12 when I picked it up for the first time. Prince Ombra sparked my interest in world religions and mythology, it helped form many of my first spiritual thoughts on a personal level, and it asks interesting questions that I had never thought of before. One of my favorite aspects of the book is its style of omniscient narration. It brings the characters and the plot together in a uniq ...more
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