by Rochelle Hassan
Roda isn’t afraid of the monsters that roam the wilds of the Aerlands. She’s safe in her small town, surrounded by a wall of freezing, enchanted mist that keeps the beasts away. So when Roda rescues an injured crow on the instruction of her secret pen pal, Anonymous – whose letters arrive without warning and correctly predict the future – she’s surprised to learn she’s brought one of the so-called monsters home. Because her crow is really a shape-shifting boy named Ignis.
Ignis doesn’t remember where he was going before he crashed. But Anonymous brought him and Roda together for a reason – and the only way to find out what Anonymous wants is to follow the trail of baffling clues in Roda’s letters. Their perilous journey leads them into the mist and beyond, to a mysterious place called Nowhere. But Ignis has secrets, and the farther they get, the more Roda doubts she can trust him.
As a nefarious force closes in, they’ll have to put aside their differences and work together. For they might be each other’s only defense against an enemy who threatens their past, present, and future.
The Prince of Nowhere is a unique middle-grade fantasy novel.
Roda and Ignis were relatable characters. Their motivations and struggles were understandable. I do think that they could have been developed a little bit more though, or that we maybe could have gotten to know them more. I would have liked to connect with them a little more.
The worldbuilding was fun. There was certain whimsy to it–it seemed like anything could happen. The contemporary and fantasy elements also seemed to be balanced nicely.
About halfway through the book, I guessed the main plot twist, which wasn’t revealed until about 3/4 of the way through. So I wasn’t surprised by it, but I had been curious to see if I was going to be right.
The time travel did confuse me a little, though it might be because Hassan’s take on time travel is different than what I normally prefer. I like fixed timeline time travel, whereas The Prince of Nowhere has more of a dynamic timeline and a time loop.
The ending was a little… disappointing. While Roda has grown as a character, the plot doesn’t necessarily conclude since she and Ignis are still in the time loop. It felt a little too open. But it wasn’t a bad ending.
Cautions: brief reference to periods; non-graphic violence
* I received an ARC from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.*