Thursday, April 14, 2022

Royalty without Power: The Tale of the Hostage Prince by Anna Tan [Book Review]

My rating: ∞ / 5 ★

Am I Mahan or am I Bayangan? If I am Bayangan, why do I have the Amok Strength? If I am Mahan, what am I doing on the throne of Bayangan?

TW: gruesome deaths, torture, violence

Happy release day to The Tale of the Hostage Prince! 🎉✨✨

If you have been following my reviews, you may know that Amok (read my review here) is one of my favourite reads of 2021, and it is still among the top of my favourite fantasy reads. As much as I loved the main character, Mikal, his best friend, Yosua had been my favourite character from the start. I have wished that we will be getting a POV from him someday, and Miss Anna Tan decides to make my wish come true this year by releasing The Tale of the Hostage Prince!

The Tale of the Hostage Prince takes place two years after Amok. Despite the years passed, Yosua is still unable to adapt to his role as Raja of Bayangan. Despite finally returning to his homeland kingdom, where he should belong, he feels like something is missing. He longs for his best friend, Mikal, and misses Maha even though he was raised as a hostage there. His own people questions his ability to reign, making him doubt himself more. But when his parents are murdered brutally, and his uncle is hell-bent on seeking revenge, Yosua no longer has time to wonder where he truly belongs. If he does not play his role as Raja properly, his own people will betray him and death will claw its way to him soon.

I cannot remember feeling so much rage and pain while reading a book. The Tale of the Hostage Prince literally made me want to scream in agony, my fists clenched tightly and my heart breaking to pieces, because everything that Yosua goes through are too infuriating and painful to bear. Yosua has no men to trust after the death of his parents, and even his closest confidant will betray him at any given time. He does not even have the time to grief his parents when everything starts to crumble down, and Yosua realises that he may truly be alone.

The Tale of the Hostage Prince is a fast-paced story that left me breathless; there was no time to rest as things keep getting worse for Yosua after each page. The violence and torture are rather gruesome, perfect for my taste, even if it leaves a bitter aftertaste when I consider that Yosua does not deserve any of it. His faith is questioned and his efforts seem futile, but someone with a big heart like him never gives up. I love how hard he tries his best, and whenever he feels like giving up, somewhere deep inside him knows that it is not the right thing to do. This is why he will always be my favourite 

I say that you are truer than a friend, closer than a brother. But my path is not your path and neither will yours be mine.

When Yosua finally reunites with Mikal, it feels like a joyous celebration for me, and for them. They grew up together as best friends, as brothers, so being separated has taken its toll, especially on Yosua. I love, love the bond that these two have, and as much as I wish they can be back together like before, that is just not possible. And the way Yosua finally makes peace with this fact is pleasing in its own way. His character growth from a soft and meek boy, lacking in confidence over his worth, to becoming a man proud of his strength and flaws, unafraid to fight and protect his own people. I love that despite his harsh upbringing and the countless betrayals he went through, Yosua retains his softness and is nothing but kind to his people.

I have to say that I absolutely enjoy Anna Tan's writing style. She has a flair with words, and her world is written so vividly, I was able to imagine the scenes playing in my head, down to every detail of it. I fall in love hard with the characters that are good, and loath the villains to the deepest part of my heart. There are many twists and horrors, and despite having an inkling of who had caused the death of Yosua's parents, the truth still left me in shock. I had not expected to love this one more than I love Amok, but having a soft spot for Yosua, I can easily say I definitely love this one a lot more.

All in all, The Tale of the Hostage Prince is a story of a powerless young Raja, betrayals from those who you trust the most, and finding your inner-strength to fight back for what is rightfully yours. There is nothing I do not love about it, hence why I am giving it an infinity of stars as my rating! Many thanks to the author and Teaspoon Publishing for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Below are the links where you can order The Tale of the Hostage Prince!

Ebook: [USD4.99 / RM20]

Paperback (Malaysia only): [RM45]


Title: The Tale of the Hostage Prince
Series: Absolution, #1.5
Author: Anna Tan
Publisher: Teaspoon Publishing
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: April 14th 2022
Pages: 328

Synopsis (Goodreads): Yosua wears an uneasy crown. Although he is now Raja of Bayangan, he still longs for the land of his birth where everything was much simpler…and less deadly.

But peace doesn’t come easily, not for a twenty-year-old servant playacting at being king.

With his parents brutally murdered and his uncle bent on revenge, Yosua must decide where his loyalties truly lie. With his only remaining relative and the kingdom he has claimed? Or with his best friend Mikal and the sultanate that raised him as a hostage?


Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'

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