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Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

The Summer Prince

Publisher: 2013 Arthur A. Levine
Pages: 289
Series: N/A

"A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson."

First off, I loved the world presented in this novel. I thought it was imaginative and like nothing I have ever read before. Which was great! While a lot of books are doing the same thing, this one had the courage to break off and do something on it's own. I applaud Johnson for her choices. I stated in a post a few months ago that I wondered what happened to various other countries in post-apocalyptic books since they all seem to take place in the United States. I loved, loved, loved that this book took place in Brazil, but also that the author took the time to envision and explain what was going on is several different countries including Japan, The US, and France. It made it all the more realistic.

Another aspect about this book that I really enjoyed was that there was no homophobic attitudes. In Palmares Tres it is perfectly acceptable to love the same sex and get married. People find joy in watching those relationships blossom. I thought this was a good mix of a utopic plot line so it wasn't like everything in Palmares Tres sucked. 

One thing I would have liked was for the ideas to be explained more, and for more detail about what Palmares Tres looked like. I had one vision until something later in the book contradicted what I saw. So, more details would have been nice. 

I felt that June just needed to suck it up and admit that she had the hots for Enki WAY before she did. I get the whole sexual tension, gotta wait for the climax thing, but I was getting impatient. And I felt sorry for her. She really liked him but felt like she couldn't let herself go there. Because she knows that he will die. It was incredibly sad. 

In the end I think this was a good novel. I have heard that it is a stand alone novel, meaning there will be no sequels, which does not make sense to me. The ending of the book left WAY more room and unanswered questions! I want a sequel! Hopefully the author will reconsider. However, I do think The Summer Prince was an amazing read that you should all put on your To Be Read lists! 

-Shawnee Smith

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