I’m not even sure why I bought this, so color me shocked that I found myself enjoying it so much. It has sat on my shelf for…I honestly don’t know how long, and I just got around to taking it down and reading it. I had played the Prince of Persia video game way back when it was just a side-scroller. I played a bit of some later version when they’d fancied things up a bit and there was a lot more acrobatics. I saw the movie. That’s about all the connection I had to the property. I have, however, always been a fan of various old myth and fairytale cycles, including the Arabian Nights, which this clearly takes inspiration from. So, OK.
With this book, we see the story of a city, its rulers, a curse, and generational scars. There’s actually a lot going on, and it dives into some deeper issues. It’s also definitely not for kids. There’s some dark stuff and some really grim imagery. The story unfolds in two different times, one when the city is thriving and vibrant, the other when it’s a sand-choked ruin. There are parallels and connections between the times and we don’t fully learn them until the end. I like that a lot. I liked that the story took place in a sort of no-time, no-place. It’s a nebulous ‘long time ago’ sort of thing.
My core complaint about the whole thing is the art. I think the art style works quite well for the book. It’s got a look of traditional animation, like something out of a Don Blooth cartoon or something. However, the character design causes some problems. I had a devil of a time trying to keep three of the male leads straight, and it meant that I kept getting pulled out of the story because I would be confused about who the character in a scene was, or what time this scene was taking place in. There was a bit with costuming that would help sometimes, but not always. Perhaps if one character had a distinct beard, or another character had a shaved head? Instead, it was three thin dudes with long black hair.
This was certainly better than I anticipated. I think this may have been released to try to capitalize on the live-action film that came out. So one might anticipate it to be a cheap cash-grab kind of thing. However, I think it’s pretty clear that the folks involved were actually involved.
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