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The Worker Prince by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
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The Worker Prince (edition 2011)

by Bryan Thomas Schmidt

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Schmidt portrays a futuristic society that continues to suffer from the oppression, segregation, and hostility we have seen among humankind throughout history, but provides a new twist, with new species, planets, etc. I loved the idea behind the novel - that humans are bound to experience the same problems over and over, with a constant struggle between good and evil. The book was fast paced, although at times I found it difficult to remember the differences between species, creatures, etc. Lots of new terminology which I think I caught onto by the end. The characters were interesting, although there is still much room for development.

I found that Davi accepted his past too quickly though. I expected more of an internal and ongoing struggle between his worker heritage and the self he knows as a royal. It would have made sense if he had always felt out of place among the royals, however he states over and over that it was the world he knew. I realize that Miri had raised him to be open to new ideas and more understanding of all people, but I still felt like it was a bit unrealistic how quickly he adapted to his new self and had very little guilt over taking what was given to him (knowledge), training, etc.) to help fight against the society he knew. It was still a great story and I loved reading every minute of it, but I think it could have benefited from exploring more of those feelings and bringing the reader in more emotionally to experience this conflict within Davi/Prince Rhii.

I didn't feel we got a sense of how big the resistance was until the fighting started, and nameless pilots began to die. I had no emotional connection to those that were lost, and think it may have been more exciting if we knew a little bit about them, or if those lost were some of the ones we had come to know through Davi's narration.

All in all I found it a great story and would be interested in reading a sequel, but I think it left something to be desired in terms of connecting emotionally with the reader, something that could be improved for the next novel.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  sar450 | Aug 30, 2012 |
I did enjoy this book. It is a good beginning for a series. The characters still need some fleshing out, as well as the history needs some personalizing and filling out. I never really got a feel for the reason for the hatred between the groups. But then, maybe the point is that bigotry does not need a basis in reality? This is a retelling of the story of David from the Old Testament set in a possible future. The comparisons are obvious if you remember any of your Sunday School. I am willing to give the next book a try and see if it flows better. ( )
  bgknighton | Mar 5, 2012 |
A Full list of reviews for this book with links can be found at http://bryanthomasschmidt.net/interviewsreviews/ ( )
  BryanThomasS | Feb 5, 2012 |
Davi Rhii is a prince of the Boralian people and a newly-minted military officer, but he's about to find he's much more than that. After discovering his roots as the son of Workers (people on another world enslaved by the Boralians), he is forced to decide to which side to support--and is drawn into a solar-system-spanning battle for freedom. Along the way, he has to face down his own entrenched cultural assumptions, and finds a new faith by embracing the one God of the Workers.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt's debut novel is a fast-paced and deftly-told space opera adventure set in a well-envisoned political and social environment. It is classic space adventure in all the right ways, with plenty of action, twists, and characters with emotional depth. (It also has one reversal of a 'classic' trope that I liked--instead of the main character starting as a worker and discovering he's really a prince, it's the other way around.) Schmidt also pulls off the tricky task of incorporating religion into his story without alienating non-religious readers; it is plainly expressed but never 'preachy.' I very much enjoyed the tale, and look forward to further volumes in the series. ( )
  GaryWOlson | Dec 30, 2011 |
Showing 4 of 4
SYNOPSIS: A young scion of the tyrannical ruling family of a solar system discovers his secret origin in the enslaved race oppressed by his adoptive people, and takes action to aid their plight.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Engaging protagonist; strong moral foundation; appealing and entertaining writing; strong themes.
CONS: Irksomely inconsistent worldbuilding; too much “Carrying the idiot ball” by some characters.
VERDICT: A debut novel whose promise and ability to entertain rises above its flaws.
added by BryanThomasS | editSFSignal, Paul Weimer (Jan 30, 2012)
 
This book manages to do what many other science fiction novels haven’t; namely show existing religions in the distant future. The resemblance to the Biblical story of Moses is obvious, but the way it is told is engaging and not limited by the comparison. True, Lord Xalivar ‘will not let the workers go,’ but the workers themselves work toward their own salvation – rather than depending on their God to do it for them. The fact that the workers are monotheistic Christians – unlike the polytheistic Lords of the Alliance – emphasizes the culture clash that already exists between the peoples. The overlords feel superior to the enslaved workers, and use that as a reason to subjugate them – something historically common throughout slave-holding societies.

This book works on several levels. While other science fiction novels shy away from mentioning modern day religions, this book manages to succeed in doing just that without feeling preachy. The religious overtones cannot be ignored in the story, nor should they, for they add to the realism of the plot. The people of this future feel as real as any family member or despot of the modern world, and they deal with the same issues. I recommend this both as both as a science fiction delight and a good family read.
 
At first glance, The Worker Prince by Bryan Thomas Schmidt is an unassuming space opera work of science fiction. But as the reader gets drawn into the pages, one will find a wide array of literary elements. Though at times the story moves a bit quicker than the action calls for, the overall content is well worth the reader’s time.
 
As Prince of the Boralian people, Davi Rhii couldn't live a more charmed life; however, when he discovers the truth of his lineage and upbringing, the charm quickly fades away. Originally born as a member of the worker underclass, Davi was secretly adopted by the Boralian royalty. Furthermore, his uncle Xalivar, High Lord Councillor of the Alliance, is single-handedly responsible for all the strife and turmoil that the workers have suffered through the years. Suddenly finding himself at a momentous crossroads, Davi is ultimately forced to decide between abandoning his native-born brethren or turning his back on the only family he's ever known...

The Worker Prince is quite the engaging read. Though his premise may not be entirely original, author Bryan Thomas Schmidt successfully breathes exciting new life into a familiar, yet classic storyline. Skillfully framing Davi's ongoing internal struggle, Schmidt enables the reader to empathize with his protagonist's considerable predicament. Facing the truth of his existence in one hand and an accustomed life in the other, Davi is understandably torn between the dueling forces of love and loyalty. As such, readers are sure to relate to not only the difficulty of his daunting quest for redemption, but also the very need for him to embark on it in the first place. A highly compelling read.

Renee Washburn
Apex Reviews
added by BryanThomasS | editApex Reviews, Renee Washburn (Oct 30, 2010)
 
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For Davi Rhii, Prince of the Boralian people, that nightmare has become a reality. Freshly graduated from the prestigious Borali Military Academy, now he's discovered a secret that calls into question everything he knew about himself. His quest to rediscover himself brings him into conflict with his friends and family, calling into question his cultural values and assumptions, and putting in jeopardy all he's worked for his whole life. One thing's for sure: he's going to have to make decisions that will change his life forever...
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