Marvin's Reviews > Imperial Hostage

Imperial Hostage by Phil Cantrill
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's review
Jun 24, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy
Read from August 13 to 17, 2011

First of all, a big thank you to Journalstone for sending me a review copy of Imperial Hostage.

To be honest, I was not sure I should be reviewing this book. I'm not all that familiar with YA novels and alternate worlds fantasies usually leave me a bit indifferent. But I was not too far into this book when I realized I have started a very special journey. Phil Cantrill has an amazing gift for creating a alternate world with incredible detail. His world seems a little Greco-Roman yet appears to be in a time in which technology has been forgotten yet is being slowly resurrected by a civilization that does not always understand it and often mistakes it as magic, echoing Arthur C. Clarke's famous adage that the technology of an advance civilization is indistinguishable from magic. Cantrill's world is full of mythological creatures, powers of the minds and other wonders, but are skillfully explained in a way that completely fits the reality he created. It is one thing to throw together lots of established fantasy ideas and characters yet it is a much harder trick to place them in an unique world which each idea is essential to the story. The author does this extremely well.

Then there is the plot. 12 year old Prince Erechtheus comes to the empire's capital as a hostage for the next 15 years. He immediately makes enemies and spend the next 15 years dodging assassination attempts. Fortunately for him, he also comes under the protection of the benevolent Temple of The One. His coming of age and the arrival, and loss, of various friendships is the focus of this book and it worsk not only because Erech is a likable protagonist but his friends, and enemies, are well developed and understandable. This combination of believable fantasy and three dimensional characters kept me riveted all the way to the cliff-hanger ending of the first book of this projected trilogy. I especially liked the relationship between Erech and his adopted wolf named, appropriately, Wolf. I also liked how the author uses some rather adult themes in a way that is totally appropriate to the Young Adult population this book appears to be targeted for. This is easily one of the best YA novels I have read and will be waiting for the second installment.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Stephen (new) - added it

Stephen Great review, Marvin. This looks good.

Marvin Thanks, Stephen. Yes, this was a big surprise to me in both quality of plot and writing. I definitely recommend it.

Christopher Payne Hi Marvin, it has been a while. I'm so glad you liked the book. Phil is a great guy and it is a fun book to read.

Marvin Hi Christopher. Yes, been too long since I've heard from you too but it does looks like you've been busy. Keep up the good work.

Phil Cantrill Thanks for the kind words, Marvin. Glad you liked it.

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