Author: Jordan Mechner, A. B. Sina, LeUyen Pham, and Alex Puvillard
Publisher: First Second Books
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Long ago in Persia, there lived a Prince — a man of honor, of valor, and full of strength — a man for his people, who lived with them and took on their trials and hardships. And he was loved.
His name is no longer remembered. When people speak of him, they call him merely, ‘The Prince of Persia,’ as if there have been no others, and his descendants are enjoined to live like him, to be like him, to the ends of their days.
Long ago in Persia, there were many princes, one following another, sometimes quick, sometimes slow, sometimes fat, clever, joyous, and all more or less honorable. And in some of those princes there shone the spirit of The Prince of Persia, for in Persia time spins like a wheel, and what is to come has already happened, and then happens again, year in and year out.
This is the story of two of those princes, and of the destiny that threads their lives together. (Source: Goodreads)
This book follows the stories of two princes of Persia. The first, Guiv, escaped from his home before being murdered by his brother-in-law. The second, Ferdos, was raised a beggar to escape his fate in the city. Their stories are connected by the wheel of time that connects all history in Persia. The story also follows a princess, Shirin, who helps set Ferdos’s fate into action.
I’m a little on the fence with this one. I really loved it in some ways, but found the plot really hard to understand until the very end. The story is really interesting, but handled poorly so that it becomes something of a mess and confusion. The art is beautiful, which is really why I even bothered to read it because I’ve never played Prince of Persia or even seen the movie. I loved the characters, especially Ferdos and Shirin, and the development of the relationships. Unfortunately the plot handling just kind of killed the overall effect of the story.
Basically this book presents two plots side by side and tries to form some connections between them. Unfortunately this doesn’t really happen until the last possible second when you’re so confused you don’t even really care anymore. The first plot, following Guiv, seeing Guiv running away from his palace and becoming something of a prophet. The second, following Ferdos and Shirin, is about Shirin running away from her palace, finding Ferdos, and fulfilling the prophecy that Guiv gives. This is all pretty unclear in the book though. If they had been more linear it would have been really easy to follow and the story would have been quite beautiful honestly. But in the jumping, jerking style it was told, it just got kind of annoying.
The characters are all really interesting. I liked the idea of the wheel of time and these multiple princes of Persia. Guiv is a more violent prince who is hungry for revenge after his life is torn apart. Ferdos is more of a peaceful prince who wants what’s best for his people. I definitely liked Ferdos a lot. His relationship with Shirin is really great too. Shirin is a very strong female character in the book, she really incites all the action. The romance between her and Ferdos is really nice and spawns some of the most beautiful art in the book.
The art in this book was gorgeous. I honestly can’t even describe how amazing it was. There’s a lot of detail in this book that would normally have been overlooked. There characters all have such unique individual designs, despite the fact that they are also running parallel with little bits of similarity coming across, like the outfits being the same between stories. There are a lot of really fantastic colour palettes used. I liked that they kind of transition and work different between moments and periods of the book. The art also really captures a lot that gets left unsaid, like the actual words of love between Shirin and Ferdos, who have the most beautiful moment under the stars with some fantastic illustration and colour choices.
Overall I liked the book but had sort of a hard time with it. The plot would have been told better if it had been structured differently. There’s a lot of great story to be told but the way its being told is just confusing. The art and characters are really fantastic and make up for the poor framing done with the plot.