About the book
What if everything you thought you knew about yourself and the world turned out to be wrong?
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…
326 pages (paperback)
Published on October 4, 2011
This book was provided for me to review by the author.
This is a Re-Review. To read more about Project Re-Review, click on this link. I’d normally post a link to the original review here, but I was so embarrassed by it I ended up deleting it.
The Worker Prince is one of those novels that will either be a hit or a miss. In all honesty, I think most science fiction is that way. It’s hard to anticipate what readers will enjoy in terms of advanced technology, colonization, political issues and the like. Treading the line of what’s believable and what’s not must be very hard for science fiction authors to manage. Coupled with that is the fact that Schmidt’s book is written in a family friendly manner (Though it’s fantasy, think of Michael Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations for a comparison of style). Perhaps a lot of family-friendly science fiction exists out there but I don’t really know where one would go about finding it. This, in my estimation, puts Schmidt in a class of his own. There really isn’t much to compare him to and that’s kind of refreshing.
There has been some squabbling amongst reviewers as to whether this book is a thinly veiled Christian novel or not, so I will address this specifically. The Worker Prince is based on the Moses story from the Bible. While this does crawl a bit under my atheist skin, it’s not oppressive and Schmidt does a good job at staying away from preaching religious doctrine and focuses on the underlying themes of his novel – how damaging prejudice and bigotry can be. Yes, religion does drive me crazy, but I can see how Schmidt, as a devout Christian, used what he was familiar with to toy with a theme that most everyone can relate to. However, the Christian story might serve to distance people with visceral religious reactions, and it may appeal to the Christian crowd more than the non-theist crowd. The author has assured me that religion is used far less in book two.
That being said, it is rather fascinating to see how Schmidt took an incredibly well known story from one of the most popular books in the world and made it his own. While there are parts of the book that are obviously based on Moses, Schmidt does detour from it quite a bit. Schmidt blends some really archaic social themes (like slavery, a feudal system, etc.), and blends them with advanced technology, planet hopping and the like. The merging of all of these new-and-old systems is fairly seamless, and it will cause a bit of thought for the reader, which is what the author was after. This is helped along with Schmidt’s obvious flair for the written word. The Worker Prince is family friendly, and the writing reflects this, as it could be easily absorbed by a teenager or adult alike making this a good crossover novel. Schmidt’s future springs to life with his descriptive and flowing prose. While there are some occasional hiccups with some awkward dialogue, it doesn’t affect the overall flow of The Worker Prince.
Nothing is perfect, and neither is The Worker Prince. While I found most of the characters to be well rounded and believable, I found Schmidt fell into the same pothole a lot of authors fall into by creating antagonists that are a bit too stereotypical-evil-supervillan to be believable, which disappointed me. This did stretch my ability to fully be absorbed in the plot. Secondly, (and perhaps this reflects my love of Peter F. Hamilton’s technology too much), some of the technical terms used in The Worker Prince just didn’t seem advanced enough for me. Now this is a truly petty complaint, but the term e-post doesn’t scream, “advanced civilization.” (Full disclosure: I can only hope the term e-post is accurate. I think it is… I’m pretty sure it is. However, my various ereaders decided to throw a fit and I lost my version of this book and a few others again because technology hates me, so I can’t look it up at the moment. If it’s not e-post, it’s pretty close.)
The Worker Prince is one of those science fiction books that will probably make tried-and-true SF readers wax nostalgic about all the things that made them fall in love with science fiction in the first place. Schmidt fills this book with a bit of everything, some understated romance, action, adventure, prophecies, space travel and much more. Yes, there are Christian themes here, but Schmidt does a good job at handling them delicately and the underlying messages will appeal to most readers. While I did have problems with some of the characterization and technical terms, The Worker Prince is an overall success, and reminded me why speculative fiction is such an incredible, fun, and surprisingly deep genre.