Ethan was a hard character to love. No longer the adorable curly haired toddler, he’s a brooding mess, full of teenage angst after being abandoned by his sister and left to deal with the constant presence of the fey on his own. Determined to keep everyone at a distance so as not to endanger their life by accidentally introducing them to the fey, he’s a jerk. But it’s because of his constant guilt over being a jerk that I was able to fall in love with him. As his walls are slowly broken down, we get to see the softer, kinder side of Ethan that he feels forced to hide. His fearlessness in the face of danger, his protectiveness for those he cares about and his courage in the face of the unknown was a pleasure to read.
Unfortunately, I didn’t feel as strongly for the other characters in The Lost Prince. Kenzie was stubbornly adorable, but it took me a long time to find her nosiness and general lack of self-preservation endearing. Her refusal to back down and leave Ethan alone, after numerous attempts by him to not-so-politely tell her to get lost, had me immediately questioning her motives. I also got tired of references to her thin frame or slender build, and how tiny she was. I think it was done to make her actions seem braver, but it became quite tiresome. Keirran didn’t really affect me one way or the other – and that was the problem. He had very little personality, and it felt like he was hiding things – things that were never brought to light. His entire existence seemed to center around Annwyl, and I couldn’t figure out why, as she had even less personality! After his adamance over finding the Forgotten’s lair to stop them from hurting anymore fey, his actions toward the end baffled me and the lack of resolution with his feelings toward the Forgotten left me confused and frustrated.
Somehow though, I did enjoy the slow-building romance between Ethan and Kenzie. I loved watching her break down his walls through sheer persistence and determination of will. I loved watching him try to resist her at every turn, constantly catching himself staring or reaching out to touch her. I loved their playful banter, and how they found time to steal moments for themselves even during some of their stickier moments. And I loved watching him realize that he was falling, despite his best efforts to the contrary.
But it was the plot that truly had me enjoying The Lost Prince. I was immediately intrigued by the presence of new fey – what else could Julie create after the Iron Fey!? The idea of the Forgotten is brilliantly forlorn, and somehow I found myself empathizing slightly with their plight. Unravelling their mysteries added a layer of intrigue to every action Ethan took, in the hopes that he would stumble on more information about their past and their motives. The looming threat of even more exiled being killed added a sense of urgency, which when combined to the Forgotten’s mysterious existence, created a suspenseful atmosphere that permeated The Lost Prince from beginning to end. With appearances from Iron Fey favourites, Puck and Grim!, and being able to return to the expansive and detailed NeverNever, I couldn’t put The Lost Prince down!
From start to finish, The Lost Prince kept me captivated. With some great new characters – I also loved Razor! – and appearances from some of my Iron Fey favourites, a plot full of action and suspense, and a heartwarming romance, I found myself constantly laughing and cheering and sitting on the edge of my seat!