Veranda's Reviews > The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
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it was ok

I fully agree with the reviewers who noted that the concept is amazing but the execution is problematic. I was so excited to read The Summer Prince, and ended up disappointed.

There are hints of incredible world-building that are frustratingly undeveloped. Tensions are set up (between the under-30 "wakas" and the older "grandes," between those who want to open the society to new technology and those who don't, between the different classes of citizens in Palmares Tres, between individual characters) and either resolve too easily or trail off into nothing. The stakes are so high - death! rebellion against a corrupt government! - but ultimately don't seem real/urgent enough for me to care about. Johnson asks the reader to fill in too many gaps in the plot, the mythology, and the characters' motivations for me to get really invested.

My main complaint is I wanted *more* of everything! A more oppressive regime that was actually worth rebelling against. More backstory about the sacrifice tradition (moon/sun years - artificial convenient plot device?). More details about life and culture in Palmares Tres, so the sexual fluidness and constant partying and public art pranks don't feel so gratuitous. More fully realized characters and relationships so that I can really care about them.

I blame a lot of this on poor editing - it's an editor's job to help the author see where the plot is thin, where more details are needed for comprehension, and where pacing is uneven.

There's some really beautiful writing, and the great ideas are all there under the surface, I just don't think the author went far enough with the ambitious concept. I will definitely be eager to read whatever Johnson writes next, as I think there's a ton of potential still to be realized.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
April 9, 2013 – Shelved
April 9, 2013 – Finished Reading

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