The Prince of Ravens by Hal Emerson is an incredible tale of fantasy. In the land of Lucia, ruled by the Immortal Empress, there are seven living adult children. Each of them has one of seven talismans that give them special powers. The first six rule over a province in the land. Some of the siblings are separated in age by hundreds of years. The youngest child, the Prince of Ravens, has only been alive for seventeen years. His gift gives him control over life and death. When he kills someone, he absorbs their life force and their memories. He views his talisman as a curse. The Prince is different from his siblings in that he seems to have more humanity in him than the others. As demi-gods, the others seek total control and fear nothing except perhaps the Empress, their mother.
When the Prince was born, he passed a series of tests that determined whether or not he would be able to handle the talisman given to him. Many other offspring had been destroyed because it was determined that they could not. He passed all but one test. His mother was talked out of destroying him because he appeared to be the one who fit into a prophecy for the future. It was determined that he could live until his seventeenth birthday. Unfortunately, nobody told him about this.
On his seventeenth birthday the prince is disinherited and unnamed. Summoned to speak to the Empress, he is hoping to find out what he did wrong. Instead he is attacked and left for dead out in the forest. When he awakens he finds himself being held captive by two of the Exiles. The Exiles are people who were banished by the Empress. The prince has always assumed that they were criminals. The two that rescue him try to tell him otherwise, but he is set on their guilt and the idea that a mistake has been made regarding his own exile and attempted assassination. Tomaz, who is a giant of a man, and Leah, a young woman, do have secrets of their own, but he has to earn their trust before they will be shared.
The trio set off on quite an adventure while trying to return to their land, which is in a province that the Queen lost control of many, many years ago. Along the way, they have to deal with the Prince’s attempts to escape and the people who are still trying to assassinate him. The Prince has convinced himself that it is a test. Having never been outside his mother’s kingdom, he is amazed at the beauty of the surrounding lands. Never having seen a tree, let alone the sun, it is all new to him. As he begins to realize the truth, he has to battle both the magical elements that are seeking his destruction and his own convictions about what is true.
The Prince of Ravens is an incredible tale. Being the first book in the “Exile Series,” I cannot wait to see what adventures will follow. This is the type of fantasy novel that you will want to read in one sitting. Having a career kept me from being able to do so, but my mind stayed on the story even while I was at work. Another aspect that I appreciated about this fantasy is that there is a great deal of words of wisdom interwoven into the plot. Most of this is to help the Prince grow and learn, but as a reader I found that these words gave me a great deal of food for thought in my own life. People who are involved with martial arts or inspiring books will really appreciate this. I highly recommend The Prince of Ravens for all fans of fantasy. It is also appropriate for teens.