Tuesday, February 19, 2013

ARC Review: The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Published: March 1, 2013
Arthur A. Levine
My Rating:
2 of 5 stars

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Tres shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson.

My Review: I really wanted to love this book. A books set in a futuristic Brazil? Sounds awesome. Sadly I was not impressed by The Summer Prince.

The beginning was extremely confusing.Words like waka and grande were used and I had no idea what they meant. It isn't until later that I find out that wakas are mostly people younger than 30 and grandes are people older than 30. It took awhile to get used to the words that June used but after awhile I think I understood what they meant. There are still a few that I have no idea what they mean, but honestly I wasn't invested in the story enough to look them up (if they are real words).

The whole society and traditions were confusing to me too. Basically the government is run by mostly grande women that are called Aunties there are a few Uncles but they are only mentioned and play no part in the actual book. The reason the government is run by women is because "men destroyed the world" and according to the Aunties they never let go of power once they have it. A bit hypocritical since most of the Aunties have been in power for over fifty years and they are doing a pretty terrible job running their little government.

 I still don't understand why the summer king has to die. This is never explained, even at the end of the book. My best guess is that the Aunties and Queen don't want the King to gain too much power. I find it very hard to believe that a futuristic city that has some technology would sacrifice people, but that's probably because my English teacher likes to go on and on about how the world becomes less violent with each advancement. 

The characters were rather bland. I felt nothing for Enki, June, and Gil. If I'm told that Enki will die enough times then eventually I'll come to expect it and when it happens it won't be a shock or very emotional. All June seemed to care about was causing trouble and calling it "art". I'm not a fan of Enki or Gil and it probably didn't help that they fell in love with each other the first time they saw each other. June was the same way except she didn't act on it like Gil did. The love triangle was actually a triangle in this book so it didn't bother me too much, but I just couldn't get past the insta love.

There were a few parts in italics when Enki narrates the book, but it didn't really add much to the story and it came out of nowhere. At first I had no idea what was going on, I just knew that June wasn't narrating anymore. The transitions between scenes were very quick and most of the time unexpected. A month would pass in a page and June would suddenly be working on an art project with Enki. The next page she would be talking to Gil. I did not feel June's relationship with Enki develop in a natural way because of this and that really took away from the story.

The writing was very poetic at some parts and I could vividly imagine the scene. I loved the idea of a book set in a futuristic Brazil, but this book just didn't deliver for me.

*I received this book via Netgalley. Thank you!


  1. Well crap.. I was really looking forward to this one. It sounded like it has so much potential. Sorry you didn't enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    1. I think my hopes were a little too high for this one. I've seen some very positive reviews so maybe you'll like it?

  2. I haven't read this one yet but, I do have the arc and I am getting ready to read it. I have been in love with the cover forever, sorry you didn't like it but, I am still going to give it chance, thanks for your thoughts!!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven


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