The Astrologer’s Portrait

Great premise with a major-ish plot shift, still works well

I feel like trash for taking so long to get around to reviewing this. I read it over a longer course of time than I had anticipated. Life stuff made it so basically I read one chunk of it and then the rest of it after a long hiatus. That will probably color my review of it.

Onto the actual book-related stuff. So.

The book starts off about Prince Harold, who is not your typical prince. His mother, the Queen, is overbearing and he doesn’t appreciate it. I kind of felt like he wished he could be some normal (i.e eccentric) rich guy with odd tastes. But alas, that doesn’t happen and that’s okay. What does happen is that he comes into the possession of a portrait of a woman that completely devours his focus and life. He falls in love with it.

Unfortunately, a prince falling in love with a portrait isn’t good for royalty-business and he is to be married to a woman named Sonya, who, on first impression, wants to kill him . So sets off a chain of events where Harold, Turold (a mage), Harold’s servant, and Sonya, go on a quest to figure out the person ‘behind’ the portrait and other fun stuff.

I really liked the book when it was about finding out the mystery of the portrait and Harold was obsessed with it. Things happen and the shift changes. The character motivations change, big bad comes into play, and it turns…fairy-tale-ish? I mean fairy-tale-ish in that everything seems kind of happy at the end and not in the weird way. Weird stuff happens — the blurb tells you that.

The shift in the focus, which also happened to coincide with my mid-read hiatus, felt a bit jarring. But I was cool with it at the end, despite me wishing that it hadn’t have happened. Does that make sense? If the book hadn’t shifted focus, I would have been happy, but the plot switch-up worked because the author did it properly so I was pleased with the actual end.

Writing was solid, though, it felt a bit choppier than the other works but knowing that this was one of the earlier works of the author kind of explains that so maybe I’m just perceiving what I thought I’d notice in it. It’s still a great read, though.

To summarize my feelings again: Excellent premise and characters. Mid-book plot change that’s…alright, still works. (Mostly) Happy ending. Still kind of wishing to see an alternate reality without the plot change.

So: Enjoyable read, definitely recommend.