United By Pop received a free copy of The Old Man and the Princess in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
Title: The Old Man and the Princess
Author: Sean-Paul Thomas
Purchase: Available in the UK and the US
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Great for: Fans of low fantasy and thrilling adventure stories
Themes: Young adult, coming-of-age, magical realism, fantasy, adventure, mystery
Review: High fantasy will always be my favourite genre because of the pure escapism that comes with being transported to another world. Magical realism – that is, fantastical elements set in a world recognisable as our own – however, has its own benefits. You can truly envisage yourself treading in the protagonist’s footsteps and can imagine his or her mystical and transformative adventure as being one of your own.
And that is what Sean-Paul Thomas does here.
‘The Old Man and the Princess’ is a tale of just that. Sersha, believes herself to be your average teenager, despite the string of bad-luck and ill-fortune that has plagued her past. That is until, what she believes to be her attempted kidnapping, reveals her station as Princess of another realm. Her kidnapper, Derek, proves himself to be more than your average, everyday abductor and instead becomes her saviour, in attempting to return her to her former station.
I initially found this book a hard one to get in to. Protagonist, Sersha, has a foul-mouth and a short-temper. She is sassy, independent and not easily cowed by any situation – even one involving her kidnapping. As her reactions were so different to how I imagined my own would be in her situation, I initially found it hard to gel with her tough attitude and sarcastic manner. I could imagine her as a hard character to get to know in real-life, and the same was true in my reading experience. Once her exterior was penetrated, however, she became a character I could really empathise with.
Her language was also not what I had expected to hear in what I had initially deemed a young adult book. I applaud the author in his unabashed usage of foul language and slang terminology. It might not be for every reader’s tastes, but it accurately portrayed the demographic and background the protagonist hailed from.
Using bad language is almost a writer’s taboo, and language for language’s sake serves no purpose to any tale. In this instance, however, just one sentence from Sersha allowed me to envisage her character and continue to identify her voice immediately as the novel progressed.
There was a dissonance and yet an intriguing quality created between the interplay and dialogue of the old man and the princess. Her coarseness and his patience made for interesting – and often hilarious – reading. Seeing the progression of their relationship also added a heartwarming element to what would otherwise be an adventure and action-dominated storyline.
This book delivers on so many fronts and combines so many genres into one cohesive and astounding whole. There is a layer of suspended belief needed, but once you can fathom the possibilities that the book puts forward, this is a tale to loose yourself in.