The Solitaire Prince
(Middle Grade/ Young Adult) (Fantasy)
By Tyan Wyss
With her upcoming birthday, Princess Christine is forced to stipulate the requirements for the man she is to marry. Her stipulation: to play and win three games of solitaire. Easy, no? But should the suitor fail, their fates belong to the chopping block, and the kingdom’s future looks uncertain without a new king.
Although this story may start out sounding like a run-of-the-mill fairytale, it departs greatly from this template with a villain, King Henry, who is not diabolic like a witch or conniving like a distrustful advisor. He is a true product of his place and time. In this way, there are no stock fairytale caricatures. Each character is unique and distinct.
And, almost immediately, the story grabs you with Princess Christine’s marriage stipulation declaiming her vying suitors to win at solitaire or die. There is no wasting time, and, luckily, we get to see blood early on, knowing this is no joke.
But what’s even better is that the story doesn’t stop there. Each chapter, instead of rehashing the same idea, it twists and alters, pitting our characters more and more against each other. Every time a new element is added, the game changes and more stakes are put on the line.
However, if I had to give any criticism, it would be that the beginning dragged slightly with the overly descriptive paragraphs in chapter one. It felt like over and over again we were being told—‘Hey! Christine is smart!’ And it got to be a bit repetitious. Some less patient readers may drop the book before getting through. But, I would advise them to wait. One hundred percent, by the time you get into chapter two you will be hooked. By then, you are no longer hampered by the antiquated writing style as well—it becomes second nature.
All in all, it took me two days to finish it and it would’ve been shorter had I more free time to do so. It is gripping and adventurous from the beginning and always keeps you guessing. I highly suggest it.
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