Seven Princes by John R Fultz (Book of the Shaper: Book 1)

8/10 An epic tale that shows much diversity.

Seven Princes. A Sorcerer slaughters the King and his entire court in front of the disbelieving eyes of young Prince D’zan. From that moment D’zan is driven by one thought - the need to regain his father’s stolen throne.

Seven Destinies. The lives of six foreign Princes are tied to D’zan’s fate, as he seeks allies for his cause in a land where Men and Giants battle side by side against ancient monsters and chilling sorcery, only one thing is certain - war is coming. Kingdoms will clash and blood will run.

All will be legend…

From the get go, Fultz throws you in a epic story about kingdoms, betrayal, sorcery and reclaiming heritage. There are a lot of fantasy books out there that belong to a certain sub-genre, be it sword and sorcery, military fiction, high/epic fantasy etcetera, all defined by their own individual set of rules/characteristics. Having just finished Seven Princes it's hard for me place it - it is influenced by several sub-genres and lies on the border of sword and sorcery and military fantasy.

I liked the way Fultz wrote this story, it was straightforward and did not linger around any unnecessary details. It is a to-the-point story. I do think that some readers might not enjoy the constantly changing from character to character and from event to event but this did not bother me the rough edges that Seven Princes possesses could certainly have been better polished, and this which would have made the story that much better.

Seven Princes follows Prince D’zan on his quest to seek revenge. In the prologue he is chased from his court by an evil sorcerer, and he then seeks out alliances with other kingdoms. On this journey D’zan gathers together other Princes, each with their own reasons to help. In most fantasy stories there are the heroes and the bad guys and most of the time the heroes survive. Most of the time they barely escaped the brink of death… But Fultz’s Seven Princes does not follow this trend. Each character has death lurking around the corner and no one is safe. This was a great idea and kept me reading… and reading, I never knew what might happen. The world consists mainly of men and giants and it made a pleasant change to find the giants portrayed as good-natured and helpful, and relations between the giants and the men was also well done.

As Seven Princes nears its conclusion Fultz brings the storylines (of all the Princes and one Princess) together and everything builds up to a climax in a final and epic battle. However, all of a sudden it’s over… and for me it was a disappointment. The final battle failed to deliver. Another part of the book that, in my opinion, did not follow through were the evil forces. The prologue delivers a to the point introduction about the evil sorcerer Elathym taking the throne and driving D’zan away. But Elathym's intentions remain obscure and I could not readily discern his reasons. Similar to this is the Queen Ianthe’s cause, although here reasons are a bit more revealed (if I say why I would reveal small subplot, so I won't). However Elathym and Ianthe do fight for the same cause and their alliance and the reason of their alliance is also not explained. In the beginning of the book when D’zan is feeling from Elathym he tries to seek sanctuary in the nearby kingdom of Mumbaza, but the Boy-King refuses him sanctuary, then later in the book when D’zan, together with the other Princes, seeks alliance with the Boy-King he all of a sudden consents, also with hardly any reasoning. Fultz could have made the story that much better if he could have given more reasoning behind the motivation of his characters' actions.

Seven Princes, is an epic tale that shows much diversity, military battles and armies that clash, vivid sorcery and brash action scenes. It did deliver on some fronts but on others it let down. On the back cover it is mentioned “and blood will run”… Well you bet your socks it does!

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Our interview with John R Fultz

John R. Fultz lives in the North Bay Area of California but grew up in Kentucky. John's Books of the Shaper trilogy includes SEVEN PRINCES, SEVEN KINGS, and SEVEN SORCERERS (Orbit Books). His short story collection, THE R [...]

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John R Fultz's Book of the Shaper series

Seven Princes

Book of the Shaper: Book 1

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