The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury, published by Scholastic on 4th February 2016
Goodreads synopsis:Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.
When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.
First things first…the cover art for this book is mesmerising!
I initially thought that this was going to be a straight sequel to the superb ‘The Sin Eater’s Daughter’. I was expecting the action to pick up with the main character Twylla, so I was puzzled at the beginning why the characters didn’t seem familiar. I soon realised that this was more of a companion novel. It takes place in the same world originally created by Salisbury but features a new protagonist and approaches the story from a different direction. It’s not until near the end of the book that everything starts to make more sense and the threads of the plot weave together.
I enjoyed ‘The Sleeping Prince’ but I did find it quite slow. Most of the action in the first-half takes place in the home of Errin, a young apothecary-in-training who has been left alone to look after her mother. Her brother turns out to be Lief, who readers will be familiar with from the previous book. The only help Errin receives is from the mysterious Silas who she knows little about, except for the fact that she is unwittingly drawn to him.
When the neighbouring kingdom of Lormere is invaded by the Sleeping Prince, a fairy book nightmare come to life, Errin has to make the difficult decision to undertake a dangerous journey to save her mother.
At the start, I kept wishing for things to speed up a bit more. I liked Errin and I was intrigued by Silas but it was slow. Be warned. Don't give up too quickly. The second half of the book was much faster paced and featured a whole host of new and old faces. I was drawn more into the story and into Errin’s struggle and I started to really enjoy it.
The ending was such a cliffhanger and left me frantically checking that there weren’t just a few more pages to enjoy! It's going to be utter agony waiting for the next instalment.
Overall, not as gripping as ‘The Sin Eater’s Daughter’ and suffers a little from middle book syndrome but sets things up deliciously at the end for the big finale.