HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Mercy’s Prince: He Who Finds Mercy, Volume 1
Author: Katy Huth Jones
Cover designer: Colleen Clarke
Publisher: Quinlan Creek Press, 2015
Related website: http://www.katyhuthjones.blogspot.com
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Young adult
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Jones, Katy Huth. Mercy’s Prince: He Who Finds Mercy, Volume 1 (published in 2015 by Quinlan Creek Press). In this medieval-style fantasy with knights and dragons, seventeen-year-old Prince Valerian d’Alden, as the second son of King Orland and Queen Winifred of Levathia, is prepared for and in fact desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. However, when the kingdom is attacked by the Mohorovians, a lizard-like horde from the desert, Valerian must serve as squire to his older brother, Crown Prince Waryn. During an ambush, his brother is killed. The Levathian general Sir Caelis Reed, his own father the King, and even he himself, all blame Valerian for Waryn’s death. Now Valerian must become crown prince. Sir Caelis, thinking him weak, schemes to have the Prince killed with the hope of being appointed heir in his place.
Sent by his father on a mission to survey the kingdom and see if there are any more invasions, Valerian meets fourteen-year-old Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons. Her entire village had been massacred, and she has been rendered mute by the shock, so Valerian and his squire Kieran MacLachlan take her with them, hoping that the King will make her his ward. Can the Prince survive Caelis’s assassins? If so, will he be able to find the dragons and convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction by the monsters who killed his brother? And what will become of Mercy? Some might feel that the complex plot, which involves a number of threads, moves along slowly for a while, but all that is simply building up to an exciting, action-filled finale. I found it interesting that one critic wrote, “The very long passages of exposition, detailing just what had happened, rather than showing the reader what was happening was poor story craft.” I’m not sure I understand the difference between “detailing just what had happened” and “showing the reader what was happening,” but I would assume this person thought that some things dragged on too long. Yet, another individual said, “The story moved quickly so it was an easy read.” Well, you can’t please everybody.
The book does not seem to be specifically allegorical, but I did notice that many of the chapter titles include statements from various Scripture passages, and there is a very strong right versus wrong motif that undergirds the story. The main characters, at least the good ones, express an explicit belief in The Most High One, including mention of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and religious faith plays an important role in their lives. Some of the descriptions of fighting, killing, and dying in battle might be a little intense for younger children, but most teens should have no problem with them. One reviewer noted that “the good guys are not spared hardships, injuries or in some cases, death, making it more true to life than some.” This is the kind of book for which I wish I could give a six-star rating simply identified as “Wow!” While there is plenty of room left for the two sequels, Mercy’s Gift and Mercy’s Battle, Mercy’s Prince is complete within itself and doesn’t leave the reader hanging by a thread but reaches a satisfying conclusion.