Title: The Sleeping Prince
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 4th February 2016
Pages: 367, paperback
Genre: fantasy, young adult, romance
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.
I first read The Sin Eater’s Daughter in the second half of 2016, and this book in January. When I initially sat down to read it, I looked at the blurb, and I’ll admit I was really surprised to realise that The Sleeping Prince picked up the plot where it left off, but with an entirely different set of characters. I thought that might be something that bothered me, but I immediately connected with the new characters and could barely put the book down!
I liked Errin right from the beginning of the story. In fact, I think I liked her more that Twylla. I thought she was a very unique character: she was determined and caring, and very family-orientated. Of course, there are many fictional characters which have a strong sense of family loyalty, but Errin’s love for her family and determination to help her mother was consistent throughout the entire book and it made her really stand out for me. So I felt she was strong, but in a subtler, more powerful way than many other characters I have read. She was also completely different from Lief, which I was really pleased about.
I enjoyed the sense of mystery this novel had. Right from the beginning, Silas was a character with a huge question mark over his head, and even once his appearance was revealed, the details of his life were discovered painfully slowly. I also really liked the dream scenes, in which Errin periodically had dreams where she was talking to an unknown person who reminded her of Silas. Although it was incredibly frustrating as I realised about halfway through what the dreams actually meant, and then spent the other half of the book feeling frustrated with Errin.
There were so many plot twists it hurt my head and heart. Most books will have a small plot twist at the end to leave you excited for the next one. But The Sleeping Prince was packed with surprises from literally the first few chapters, and as a result I was literally having a heart attack the entire time I was reading. Additionally, I found Errin’s romance with Silas both completely adorable and interesting. I thought Melinda Salisbury had really brought the whole ‘forbidden romance’ idea to a whole new level with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. But she was right back at it with The Sleeping Prince – Silas being a monk was totally unexpected and a pretty unique way of keeping two characters apart. Also, Silas was gone for quite a long time for a part of the novel, and as a die-hard romantic, this often annoys me. However I found myself completing absorbed in Errin’s journey and I did not mind nearly as much as I thought I would.
One thing I really admire about Melinda Salisbury’s writing is her ability to write completely distinguished characters. Often characters can be a bit samey, or a couple can be really well developed and the rest left a little 2D. But Errin, Silas, Lief, Twllya and all the other people in the story were totally different and I loved it. And as much as it pained me to read it, I also loved how the horribly negative sides of characters were shown (those who have read the book will know what I am talking about here).
I loved how, in The Sleeping Prince, we got to see elements of the past book as well as past characters, as well as hear the story from an entirely new perspective. I have my copy of The Scarecrow Queen now and I am so excited to start reading it, if a little terrified!