The Summer Prince
author : alaya dawn johnson
pages : [hardcover] 289
memorable quote : The past stands in the path of the future, knowing it will be crushed.
A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.
The lush city of Palmares Três 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 Três 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.
The Summer Prince tried to do a lot in such a small amount of pages (not even three hundred!) and it didn’t end up working for me. For starters, the world introduced is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, which is wonderful. Except we readers are thrown into it with no warning and are expected to have a good grasp of that society by the end of the novel. There are so many interesting facts that are thrown in and never properly explained. Apparently everyone in Palmares Tres is genetically modified within the womb to be between certain shades of color, among other things that are never properly explained because I’m fairly certain this is only mentioned once. On top of that, the city is a matriarchal society, one in which no one cares about sexuality and gender roles are almost completely flipped. Which is an amazing, unique concept that is quickly overwhelmed because the author put too much information in such a short span of writing.
I ended the novel still uncertain of whether the king was ritually killed every year or every five years (if someone knows, please explain it to me!) and there were other little details that continued to confuse me. I’m assuming that this is because I might’ve missed something in another round of overwhelming information.
The characters were interesting. I really liked them even though I still felt distant from them, probably because their world was so different from mine and I was constantly reminded of that. I did like the connection that Enki and June had. Some of the scenes were very sweet. Others just kept me wanting to read further so that I could get answers to new questions that arose, either because of this dystopian world or because of the problems Enki and June faced.
While this was a very unique and intriguing book, the information dumps were too overwhelming and not properly explained. There was so much in this book with potential that it was a shame that it wasn’t spread out longer so that I could completely enjoy and sink into the world of The Summer Prince.