Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review: For the Sake of the Kingdom by Julia Alaric

Reviewed by Fehu
For the Sake of the Kingdom (Proud to be A Vampire) by Julia Alaric
Less Than 3 Press
Short Story
4 Pants Off

Prince Erik's life is grand: his father has taken a new wife, a beautiful and sweet woman who charms all who meet her, the kingdom is prospering, and there is no shortage of men and women to keep his bed warm. If he wishes for the one person he cannot have, well, at least he's accepted it. 

But then everything begins to change, a shroud falling slowly over the kingdom, darkness creeping in and leeching his father's life away. Strangest of all, the kingdom's artists all begin to create works along the same strange and frightening theme …

A great twist of the classical Snow White fairytale, with demons, vampires and shifters and a cross-dressing prince. Sounds silly? Well it isn't and that's what makes this one special!

The Queen needed an heir and the King loved her too much to take another lover, even if she couldn't bear a living child. So she takes it in her own hand and Prince Erik is conceived, but the price is very high and the queen dies, after giving birth.

Prince Erik has two guardians growing up, his mother’s old bodyguard and the King's Huntsman. It's them who are suspicious, when the king marries and brings home a new wife, but all is well for years, until the kings health begins to fail and the kingdom falls under a spell. All paintings show the prince dying and that's when Erik takes notice and start ask questions, some of the answers he find are quite surprising and he has to come to terms with his own conception and special abilities.

I would have liked to learn more about the history of all the mentioned countries, but the fantasy world was quite interesting and detailed enough for a novella. Erik didn't grew up afraid of his step-mother, she was actually not evil at all in the beginning and there was an interesting explanation for the changing behaviour of the queen, which was not used before, at least not in a version I've read. What was missing, at least in my opinion, was how Erik fell in love with the Huntsman. Suddenly he was interested in the Huntsman and the interest was even more suddenly returned.

Other than that it was an engaging story and there was quite a lot of suspense going on, at least for a fairytale.

4 Pants Off

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