cover image The Chosen Prince

The Chosen Prince

Diane Stanley. Harper, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-224897-8

On the day of Prince Alexos’s birth, the gods decree that he is destined for greatness, catalyzing a life of hardship as the prince attempts to fulfill this prophecy. An outsider among his peers, afflicted with an illness that damages his legs, 12-year-old Alexos is finally driven by anguish to leave his helpless younger brother, Teo, for dead by casting him out to sea alone. But through the goddess Athene’s intervention, Alexos finds his way to a magical island where the brothers’ purpose is revealed. Stanley’s (The Silver Bowl) lush descriptions of the fog-shrouded island, which comes alive to respond to inhabitants’ needs, hark back to the mythological roots from which she draws inspiration. Much of the story is relayed through dialogue, and Stanley’s characters are prone to lengthy speeches used to explain the Arcoferrans’ long suffering and espouse their feelings, making for some stilted exchanges. But, overall, Stanley’s storytelling infuses each character and hardship with distinct purposes that coalesce and become clear to readers by book’s end for a tidy finale that leaves no unanswered questions. Ages 8–12. Agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (Jan.)