Title: The Pauper Prince
Author: Sui Lynn
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Buy Link The Pauper Prince (Changing Moon), Dreamspinner Press
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Rating: 2.5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: A valiant attempt at creating a paranormal world that was overwhelmed by emotionalism and unchecked world building.
Blurb: Andrew Reed is smart and educated, but as long as his people are enslaved to the vampires, his options are limited. When he discovers a strange young man in his family’s barn, he shifts forms and trails the thief, trying to decipher why he smells familiar with a hint of something more. Excited by what he discovers, he reveals himself to Lance, and they return to Lance’s camp in the forest.
When Andrew’s family takes it on themselves to “help” by investigating Lance’s past, Andrew finds something neither of them could have imagined. If they band together, they have a chance to win their freedom—and a brighter future for all the races.
Review: Creating a paranormal race in the real world setting is tricky–creating more than one race is daunting. Sui Lynn’s novel, The Pauper Prince sets out to do just that, establish two races, shape shifters (most commonly wolves) and vampires and tell the story of their history from their beginning on the earth. If that was not juggling enough, the author also attempts to pull into her story a thread of child abuse, life in foster homes, and a young man on the run from the nightmare his life had become. Whew–this was a loaded story.
Lance Fitz was eighteen, homeless, on the run from a horrifically abusive foster life and about to attempt to live out the next few months in an abandoned, ramshackle cabin on the edge of a farming property at the foot of the mountains. He gets caught stealing tools and supplies from the Reed family farm by their oldest son, Andrew. Along the way, as Andrew pursues Lance into the woods, a terrified Lance transforms into a wolf and his life changes irrevocably.
Andrew comes from a long line of shifters and recognizes that their is something unique about Lance. Before he knows it, his inner wolf is claiming Lance as his own–as his mate and cannot envision a future spent without him. However, convincing poor Lance that he is not only a wolf, but safe with Andrew is a huge task, particularly when Lance finds out that Andrew is forever bound, in essence, a slave to the vampire, Stephon. As the story goes on, Andrew recounts how the war between the race of vampires and sifters nearly annihilated his race and, in order, to “help” the shifters make wise choices and preserve their bloodlines, the vampires set themselves up as their overlords.
Thus begins the journey to finding out who Lance is, how he became a wolf without a pack, and why he seems to be able to shift into multiple forms without any danger of remaining locked in his animal form.
The Pauper Prince not only sets up an alternate reality but is the first in what appears to be an ongoing series for author Sui Lynn. I think that is where the problems for this little story began. There was, simply put, a huge information dump in this first novel for the series. Many, many characters were introduce, their back stories touched upon and, as a result, many tiny mysteries left unsolved, presumably kept in the dark for subsequent novels. Unfortunately, because there was so many side stories hinted at, the original story became muddied and, at times, it made the reading of this novel labor intensive.
Coupled with this problem was the love story that built between Andrew and Lance. Initially, Lance’s wolf is submissive to Andrew, recognizing him as his alpha. As the story goes on, it is revealed that the shifter race is a matriarchal society–in other words, girls rule! By giving Andrew a gift of his own making, Lance becomes the more dominant one in the relationship, the wife, so to speak. But he is also wounded beyond belief, having been abused horribly by another man, and unable to barely allow anyone beyond Andrew to even touch him. I was so confused as this point. How could this slip of a man who was haunted by such fears that he regularly had panic attacks that caused him to phase into a catatonic state be the more dominant partner?
Then there was the sex, or lack there of, due to his recurring nightmares abut being forced. I just couldn’t buy into this major plot point. I couldn’t seem to make the leap that the author asked us to make in considering that Lance not only magically get beyond his past and be comfortable, but in fact, be the aggressor in the sex act that needed to happen to consummate his and Andrew’s mating, I understood that his inner wolf gave him courage but he was so damaged initially and his remarkable recovery seemed too fast, to neat and way to predictable.
All in all, I felt that the author had set up a really good premise for a story but then let her imagination run wild and began stringing along too many plot points in order to set up her upcoming series. This was a good novel made weak by too little restraint. I felt as though the author was on a mission to set up the entire series in her first book, rather than taking her time to reveal bits and pieces over the course of many installments. On top of that, she need to make this couple a super strong and stable pairing for the series to continue. Had there been just a bit less “world building” and more attention to the main coupling of Andrew and Lance I feel this would have been a much stronger novel.
I will be interested to see what happens in the next book and how much this author is able to reign herself in. I feel Sui Lynn had the makings of a solid novel in The Pauper Prince and if she can find it within herself to edit and maintain focus I think the next novel will have quite a few more stars behind its rating marker.