cover image The Hostage Prince

The Hostage Prince

Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. Viking, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-01434-7

Yolen and Stemple%E2%80%94the mother-son team behind Troll Bridge, Pay the Piper, and B.U.G.%E2%80%94deliver a fast-paced adventure, first in a trilogy, which draws on fairy myth and lore. Aspen is a Seelie Prince who has spent half his life living as a royal hostage in the bustling Unseelie Court. Snail is an accident-prone midwife's apprentice anticipating the birth of the Unseelie Queen's new child. When the two are thrown together on the eve of war, through manipulation and dire circumstance, they form an uneasy partnership in order to escape the Unseelie Lands. However, that's just the beginning of a long and dangerous journey as they face off against ogres, trolls, and other otherworldly creatures. Aspen and Snail's friendship, which grows against all odds and in spite of several snarky exchanges and awkward moments, is a warm contrast to the unpredictable and capricious world of the Fae. The tone alternates between tongue-in-cheek and surprisingly dark, but the end result is an entertaining, thrilling fantasy with a host of endearing characters. Ages: 8%E2%80%93up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (June)