SPFBO Review: The Phoenix Prince by Kristen Gupton

Phoenix PrinceMoving right along. I found a nice gap in all of the NetGalleys I need to read to shove in a bunch of SPFBO books that I also need to read. 😀

Prince Keiran no more wishes to be king than he wants to be a vampire. Unfortunately, both fates were determined at his birth. He’s spent the last twenty-three years trying to ignore his vampirism, but he can no longer ignore the throne. His father has died, and in seven days, Keiran will be made King of Tordania.

The late king’s adviser, the demon-summoner Peirte Methaius, has other ideas. He wants the throne for himself. He publicly opposes the notion of a vampire king, and there are others sympathetic to that view. They don’t want Tordania to suffer the same horrible fate as other vampire-led realms.

Keiran, already in failing health due to his abstinence from human blood, is now the target of an assassination plot. Opposing Peirte might prove too much for him to bear. It might be too much for Tordania, too, with the people so divided. But the alternative is to let the country fall under the spell of Peirte’s black magic, and Keiran can’t allow that. He never wanted to be king, but he’s always been a patriot, and he’ll do whatever it takes to save his people.

“Demons? I don’t honestly give too much credence to such mythical things.”

“My boy, you’re a vampire.”

This one captured me right in chapter one by being both a vampire novel and an epic fantasy adventure all rolled into one. That doesn’t happen super often. I’ve found that lately, vampires are usually relegated to Urban Fantasy. This one is not. This one is all the kings and knights and so on and so forth as well as the vampires and demons and so on and what have you.

This is the story of Keiran, the vampire prince of the kingdom of Tordania. Keiran’s father, a tyrant king, who among other things allowed his newborn son to be infected with vampirism, dies one day and leaves Keiran the sole heir to the throne. However, the king’s chancellor, Peirte wants the throne for himself, and is just evil enough, and just skilled enough in summoning demons, that he’s going to try and take it.

This wasn’t a perfect book, but it was certainly entertaining enough for me to read it in just short of two days. I really liked Keiran and I cared what happened to him. He is a vampire, but one that has abstained from human blood for years and is physically frail because of it. He doesn’t want to ‘become a monster’ like the vampire who made him one, and I thought his struggle was a noble one. That said, I liked Jerris, Keiran’s best friend and bodyguard, even more. I enjoyed the banter between them.

It was interesting that we saw the planning and execution of an assassination plot from the point of view of the antagonist. So, there isn’t really a lot of mystery in how and when this stuff is going to go down, because we are more or less present for much of the planning. But, that said, I found that when things that he planned started to take place, they were entertaining in their own way. Things played out in a slightly different way than I anticipated, at any rate. I expect that this sort of subversion of secret plans being secret might be something that some people bounce off.

This one also had a rather obvious love interest from the very start, which was cute in its own way at times, however much I think that Keiran and Jerris are a better pairing. I’m just saying… they can reaffirm their straightness at each other as much as they’d like (and it happens more than once, which not only made my eyes roll, but also sort of helps make my point here >.>)… I still think they’d be better together. Alas.

So, all told, I rather enjoyed my time with The Phoenix Prince. I thought the ending was a little abrupt (like, I was looking for another chapter and there wasn’t one. Not cliffhangery, just… abrupt) and it could use another editing pass to bring a bit more cohesion to bits that meander or drag on a bit. I’d recommend it to people who like vampire stories, books with an antagonist POV, and/or a good bromance (that should be romance… yes I will die on this hill). 6.5/10 stars.


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