Title: The Old Man and the Princess
Genre: Hmmm…Action/Adventure – Coming of Age
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Descriptive Blurb: Is the old man, really, who he says he is? And is he telling Sersha the truth about who she is, and where she is truly from? A thrilling and witty, black, cozy, mystery, that will keep you guessing, right up until the action packed, breathtaking, finale. An eccentric old Irish man, who claims to be ‘not of this Earth,’ kidnaps a young, headstrong, Irish teenage girl, from the streets of Galway and tries to convince her that her life’s destiny is tied to a mystical cave in the Scottish highlands. But with half of the Irish criminal underworld violently on their trail, the young girl struggles back and forth with the old man’s real identity and far fetched intentions, to whether he truly is genuine in his wild and fantastical beliefs. Or is he really just a mad, demented, old fool, having some kind of mental breakdown in his twilight years?
“Sparkly, but needs polish.”
My Impressions: Nice cover. Interesting premise. Not my usual read. Its gives the impression of being a genre-bender, but really it’s not. If I had to label, I’d say it’s more of a ‘coming of age’ type book in the background of an action/adventure story. There’s a dash of mystery and suspense to keep it interesting.
The Romance Angle: There’s nothing going on in the romance department. And rightfully not, the two main characters are miles apart in age (40+ years) so I would’ve been a bit creeped out if the author had gone there.
The Real Lowdown: Very likeable characters…eh, given the circumstances. I mean, really, a kidnapper? Immediately, going in…there’s a very real possibility of Derek coming off as a jerk…but he doesn’t. He’s rather endearing actually. And shockingly, Sersha is quite likeable too…this is a thing with me. In today’s literary world over-saturated with young adult heroines, I’ve encountered some truly annoying, obnoxious, or bratty YAs. Sersha is neither. She’s level-headed, handles herself well…and thank goodness she makes intelligent decisions under pressure. And she’s not “too perfect” either (no one likes a goody-goody). I like her and I don’t say that often about YA characters. There’s also some amusing tidbits of humor…mostly dictated by situation…and snappy dialogue. A few of the folks Derek and Sersha run into during their flight are off-the-wall. It’s played up well, without being forced.
Extra Touch: I really liked how the author did the Irish dialect. Gives a very realistic feel to the setting. I love historical romantic fiction set in England, Ireland & Scotland. I also watch a lot of period movies, many of which are set in these locals. So I’m familiar with some of the vocab and slang. This was quite refreshing… and sounded very natural. There is another extra touch, but I really can’t comment on it without giving too much away…so let me just say, that Derek is portrayed well and leave it at that.
Minor Beefs: 1. The book is written in 3rd Person shifting POV…which quite honestly, I have no problem with. I’ll even go so far as to say that I rather like this particular method, if executed properly. The beef here is that the POV shifts are a tad too frequent and with no warning. So it took me a sentence or two to realize POV had changed. It’s a good idea…helps to see the two opposing side of this particular story, but I think, it could be less frequent and with a more smooth transition. Perhaps one scene stays in one character’s POV…and then switches when the next scene starts. That gives us a longer look at one person’s thoughts and it’s more of a definitive switch, no confusion. Or chapter long POVs. I have read books where the POV changes ever chapter or every other chapter…with success. It’s a better boundary than just randomly changing POVs every other sentence with no warning. In some spots, the POV appears to be completely omnipotent…as if an all-seeing, all-knowing being is telling the story. This is disconcerting and the Achilles’ Heel of this novella.
2. There’s an anti-climactic, non-explanation at the end. Everything is kind of implied, but I think under the circumstances there should have been more of a “traditional reveal scene” where we get the full story. I felt a little cheated at being left to fill in the details myself.
3. There were some weird little inconsistencies that threw me…mostly toward the end. For instance…it’s stated earlier in the book that Sersha is a few weeks away from her sixteenth birthday…but then at the end of the novel, she states that she’s “almost seventeen”…a mistake? Or does she consider over-a-year as “almost”? Also, at the end of the adventure (I can’t say more because I don’t want to spoil), the next chapter starts with “2 years later”. Then Sersha, and one of the other characters, specifically states that only one year and three months has pasted…There is no explanation for this. Another thing, why if people wanted her dead, do they all of a sudden not want her dead anymore?? There was no mention of protection? I’m confused…there’s a vague explanation, but no real reason given.
Random Thoughts: Where was the police manhunt? Missing teen, dead bodies, thievery, explosions, gunfire, shoot-outs …and two dirty, bloody strangers rolling around from town to town…Wouldn’t the authorities be out in full force looking for the culprits…and investigating, pretty much immediately? But to just stick the police there at the end makes it seem too convenient, frankly. Not to mention, having them involved from the beginning could have added an extra level of suspense to the plot. Just saying.
Cliffhanger: Naw. There’s a defined ending.
The Verdict: Good premise…An interesting read, with two well-developed main characters in Sersha and Derek. However, the storyline is a bit underdone, with missing pieces. The police angle needs to be threaded throughout the story, not just appear out of nowhere at the end. The villains are one-note with no depth…they need backstory. Also, I would have liked a more detailed reveal and explanation at the climax. Overall, while interesting, the book reads like a rough draft of a finished book. Of course, to be fair…it is more of a short story, not a full length novel and it definitely works better as a novella. Still, I would love to see this story done-up as a full-length.
You can find ‘The Old Man and the Princess’ on GoodReads.
Get your copy today! Purchase links:
Sean is an author from Edinburgh in Scotland. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years growing up on the move with his Scottish and Irish parents (No they weren’t bank robbers 😉 in the likes of Cyprus, Germany, Wales and England, as an army brat.
With a keen interest in both reading and writing he was diagnosed with the travel and writing bugs very early on in life.
Now, writing, traveling, reading, cinema and Scottish football are his main passions in life, along with cooking, yoga, meditation and health and fitness.
His main inspiration for writing today comes from living in such a beautiful, charming and hauntingly, Gothic city, such as Edinburgh. This awe inspiring wee city has given Sean so much amazing inspiration to write the more time he spends there.
At this moment Sean is working on a couple of screenplays and a sequel to his young adult, fantasy, indie sleeper hit – ‘The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill’ – The Fairy Boy of the Seven seas.
Contact Links for Sean Paul Thomas: