|Shadow prince (Shadow Prince)|
Author: Durham, David Anthony
In this middle grade solarpunk novel set in an alternate Egyptian universe, twelve-year-old Ash must compete and survive to become the shadow--and protector--of the prince.
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Kirkus Reviews (08/15/21)
School Library Journal (00/08/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 08/01/2021 Ash has never known his parents or a life outside his small desert town. For years, he’s been training for some mysterious purpose, though his mentor has never divulged what that might be. Then Ash’s twelfth birthday comes with an incredible reveal: he is one of very few children raised to audition to be the prince’s Shadow, a lifelong bodyguard, confidante, and friend. Ash has to survive five days of grueling physical tests proctored by various Egyptian gods, one of whom is working to sabotage the process and seize power. Ash must trust his training and newly forged friendships in order to endure the trials and save the kingdom. Durham’s story is rich in detail and imagination: in this ancient Egypt, solar energy powers flying ships, gods mix freely with men, and fantastical creatures engage in conversations with humans. Repetitive dynamics in the trials are occasionally frustrating, but a compelling story arc will keep readers engaged. A rousing romp that shows kindness as a strength and power as a chance to improve our world. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2021 Gr 3–7—This entertaining fantasy, set in an alternate solar-powered ancient Egypt features Ash, a poor orphan boy of unknown parentage, whose skin tone is described as "the same red-brown as Egypt's." Picked on by other village boys, Ash is secretly being taught demons' traits and fighting skills by his mentor Yazen—for what, Ash doesn't know. On Ash's 12th birthday, Yazen confesses he's been mentoring Ash because he is one of the children born on the same day as the prince. Ash is destined to become one of the candidates in a multiday contest where the winner becomes the shadow to Prince Khufu, the future pharaoh of Egypt, charged with keeping the prince safe. Ash and the other diverse candidates (including a lioness) have to fight magical demons and monsters commanded by different Egyptian deities. A few candidates befriend Ash; others are hostile, like arrogant Sutekh and snotty red-headed Kiya. Prince Khufu's unscrupulous older brother Rami has also enlisted the deceitful god Lord Set to sabotage the candidates, so the rule of succession reverts back to him. Adult author Durham's middle grade debut is full of action, political intrigue, inventive solar powered gadgets, and quirky creatures. Ash is a sympathetic character who discovers his own self-worth and a surprising talent while competing in the grueling competition. VERDICT An exciting, magical series opener perfect for fans of Rick Riordan, Kwame Mbalia's Tristan Strong, and Jonathan Stroud's "Bartimaeus" series.—Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Lib., Trenton - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.