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Summer Prince
Summer Prince
Summer Prince
Audiobook11 hours

Summer Prince

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

3/5

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About this audiobook

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Tres 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 Tres 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.

LanguageEnglish
Release dateMar 1, 2013
ISBN9780545541343
Summer Prince
Author

Alaya Dawn Johnson

ALAYA DAWN JOHNSON has been recognized for her short fiction and YA novels, winning the 2015 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” which also appears in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy (2015), guest edited by Joe Hill. Her debut young adult novel, The Summer Prince, was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Her follow up, Love Is the Drug, won the Andre Norton Award in 2015. A native of Washington, D.C., Johnson is currently based in Oaxaca, having finished her masters degree in Mesoamerican studies at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

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Reviews for Summer Prince

Rating: 3.1242603550295858 out of 5 stars
3/5

169 ratings39 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Dense and organic storytelling. Reading this is a unique experience with science fiction.Thoughts from Page 34:Sometimes a story is read when it's needed. This one might end up as a regular reference for characterization and techniques for similar works depending on public reactions and reviews (I'll look up after finishing the book).
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    At the end of 2012, Justine Larbalestier blogged that The Summer Prince would be the "Best YA book of 2013." I pre-ordered it right away, but not really because she said so. Not that I don't have a lot of respect for Justine's taste in books, but I already love Alaya Dawn Johnson, so I was excited as soon as I heard that she had a new book coming out. I was not disappointed. Complex and lush, tense, romantic, tragic and joyous in equal measure. I think everyone should read it who has an open heart.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book made me go "That was some fucking weird shit!" and point to the book when I finished it. While alone in the tub. It was that... that... How about this: You want to feel some crazy shit? Read this. Read this when you don't need something to make you feel good. Read this when you want a whole different world.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Following a nuclear holocaust, the remaining population of the world has divided into cities that each live by very different rules. June Costa is a resident of Tres Palmares, in the former Brazil. Tres Palmares functions using older technology, and is run by "aunties" and a few uncles, led by a queen. Every five years, the populace elect a summer king who will be killed at the end of the year, and in his dying, select the next queen.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Slow starter, but hang in there and it gets so good! I enjoyed it!
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    This is another really hard review for me to write as I think that this novel has the capacity to polarise readers. There are some things that it does exceptionally well, but I still have an equal number of things that really do give me pause. However, you should probably be aware that while I do believe this book to be YA appropriate, it's certainly one for older teens as it's a very text-dense book and does contain a couple of sex scenes.The concept of this novel absolutely floored me. It's a beautiful cyberpunk novel that subtly explores a number hot themes including our increasing reliance on technology, the power of art and the ethics of euthanasia. Palmares Tres is a fascinating dystopia, seeming like a paradise to most who live there but slowly unfolding to reveal the corrupt political system at its core as June becomes more heavily involved with Enki. It made me think a lot of Ursula K Le Guin's short story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, as it presented a society that hinges its prosperity on the ritual death of their king.However, the novel felt shaky in its execution. If you want explanations in this story, you have to stick with it and read between the lines. Some key information, such as the events leading up to June's father's death, come relatively close to the end of the story. And still, the book did not adequately explain everything. The ritual and origins of the death of the Summer King is always kept particularly vague, forcing the reader to accept that this must occur without ever truly explaining why.The book also has a very odd structure, sometimes changing location or focus within the space of a few sentences and often choosing to tell rather than show. A lot of key events, including a few character deaths, occurred off page which somewhat dampened their impact. The plot of the story was also basically non-existent. While stuff happened and I never really got bored, it did not have much by way of structure. Until the final section, it was merely a sequence of events that filled out the year in which Enki was the Summer King.However, my biggest problem with this book was its cast. I really wanted to like the characters as they are incredibly diverse. None of them are white and Palmeres Tres culture seems to have no sexual taboos. The principle characters largely seem to be pansexual and engage in healthy mixed gender relationships. However, I never really connected with any of them. While I did like June a lot, her privilege made her incredibly naive and I felt her hostility towards her mother and Yaya was incredibly childish for an eighteen year old.However, Enki just wasn't my cup of tea at all. I just found him to be wholly manipulative, frequently tricking June into playing his games while knowing that it could endanger her future, freedom and life. The ending of the novel only serves to further twist the knife, showing that he holds no respect for her wishes at all. However, I did like the fact that his relationship with June was based more on a shared interest rather than attraction, which made a change from how novels of this sort tend to work.So all in all, I didn't hate this book. It offered a lot of food for thought and was certainly unforgettable. However, I think it was certainly a one-read and I'm unlikely to ever feel the urge to pick it up again.

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This book caught my attention because it centers on the practice of the sacrifice of a year king -- a very old mythic idea. The story is about many things: why a young man would compete to be chosen to rule for a year and then be killed, chosen death in various forms, the tension between youth and age, politics, art as a vehicle for radical disruption, love, and rivalry. It also features a trio of leads who are people of color, and a hero who is pansexual.

    It's hard to describe the plot itself, but the writing is beautiful, the characters compelling, and their society fascinating. I really, really enjoyed it.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    The book is interesting but I feel like it takes June too long to realize what's going on. June just feels too childish for most of the book. The details are interesting though and the description of the end of the story felt powerful and moving to me.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    Did not finish.

    I tried to like the world building, being futuristic Brazil and all, but I just couldn't stomach yet another YA novel written in the 1st person pov of a female teenage character.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    must think on this so i can do it justice. full review coming.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    First off, this is probably not the young adult that you give to other people's kids because someone might kill you. I see a lot of people complaining about that, but as a "young adult" I was reading way worse than a society where people tend toward being pansexual and free about sex so . . .

    Moving on. It's kind of strange. I like the idea of it so much! I love Afro Dystopian Future Brazil. I mean, I'm not sure what to say about whether it's disrespectful to Brazilian culture, since I unfortunately don't know it intimately, but I've seen that some people were upset that that saddens me that the book ended up doing that.

    I kind of disliked most of the characters. June is just a really annoying teenager. She learns everything at the end and matures a lot, but that's maybe in the last 20 pages of the book. She's misguided in pretty much all things. Enki does make her think about a lot of stuff but she thinks about it still with that privileged view point. That's something I really liked about the book. We're confronted with the fact that the main character is a rich and privileged teen who does stuff just for fame and not really for the betterment of people. (I'm still not totally sure that she gets that at the end actually.)

    The whole Summer King thing is really gross and terrifying. Cool that you can commit suicide when you get old freely, but the killing the Summer King this is just really awful. I mean, why would anyone come up with that even for the "few years" that it was originally supposed to be and everyone was just cool like that. Even at the end, I'm feel like June only had a problem with it now because she was in love with Enki and only "did" something about it because she heard it in a book. It's one thing to choose death, especially when you're like 140 years old, but it's another to cut open someone's throat so they can pick your queen.

    The world was well built and engaging though and I thoroughly enjoyed that even if the inequality wasn't dealt with as well as I like. Maybe it was a bit much for a young adult book focusing on a lovestruck absolutely selfish girl . . .
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book was absolutely beautiful - I was in love within the first twenty pages. Johnson has a gift for evocative description; I've never been to Brazil, but I'm sure that this is exactly the kind of city that would grow up there out of a massive world-changing catastrophe. June is a wonderful point of view character, very much a teenager, brilliant and driven (both by her ideals and by her hormones) and Enki, while something of an enigma, is equally real. I figured out what Enki's plan was by about two-thirds of the way through, but it the book didn't suffer for it; watching June figuring herself out was more than enough.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Plot: 3 1/2 stars
    Characters: 4 1/2 stars
    Style: 4 stars
    Pace: 3 stars

    A bit more coherent of a plot probably would have bumped this to a higher rating. It was episodic, and strung together unevenly, but I enjoyed it anyway. There was something instantly relatable about June, even though I often had trouble reconciling her verbalized motives with her actions. It ultimately built to something more than the disjointed prettiness. The world building on this was excellent, lush and sensual, and that in itself earned the 4 stars.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    VOYA Ratings: 3Q, 4PAs we stand today on the threshold of the future, technology offers us a plethora of potential worlds for to choose from. Of these worlds, many are bright and shining, promising to elevate the human condition to new and never before seen heights of existence yet we can rarely move ahead without carrying something of the past with us.In this novel by Johnson, we are presented with the futuristic city of Palmares Tres and its practice of electing and then sacrificially executing its King in order to maintain stability by observing a tradition started in a post apocalypse era Brazil. June is an idealistic young woman with an occasion penchant for illegal body modifying art and defacing public property. When her best friend Gil is chosen as the Summer King's consort she is quickly swept up into a world of social warfare and political intrigue as it is waged between the elite monarchy of the queen and her all female ruling class against the young and idealistic underclasses. Addressing themes of sexuality, social rebellion, and the role of technology in society this book weaves a story that remains intimately personal and compelling by fixating upon the lives and struggles as experienced by its well wrought characters.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    2Q - This book had an okay flow to it, but I had an extremely difficult time getting into it at all. Had I not been reading this for a class, I would have actually stopped reading this book. There were many parts of the plot that made absolutely no sense to me and which the author doesn't explain. For example, what purpose does the death of the summer king serve? If an author is going to introduce a device like that into their world building, they should at least bother explaining why it's happening and how it came into being part of the culture. I also didn't understand why there was SO MUCH SEX in this book. It didn't move the story along and honestly made the characters unlikable. Also, why is the book called The Summer Prince when the entire way through the book, reference is made to the summer king?3P - I gave this a 3P because I'm not sure that this would be overly popular. Sci-fi in general is kind of a niche genre that's not overly popular (except for the recent upswing in focus on "dystopian YA with strong female character") and this in particular is not a GOOD example of the genre. Quite honestly, as a huge fan of this particular genre, I am extremely disappointed that this book was used as an example for the sci-fi/fantasy module when there are so many other incredible options.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    4Q, 3P: Although I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, I still think that the book was written well. The author did a great job of describing everything and I was able to build an amazing image of the town in my head. Still, I don't know how popular sci-fi is at my branch, so it could possibly take some pushing to get patrons to check it out. The post-nuclear city of Palmares Tres, formerly known as Brazil, comes to life in Alaya Johnson's novel about morals, self-awareness, and politics. In an effort to prevent further chaos and disaster, the "king" elects a queen solely for the purpose to murder her right before the next queen comes in. "This seemingly barbaric act is to ensure that the king, in the last minutes of life, will choose in an unhindered way with death quickly approaching."
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book took me by surprise in a wonderful way. What starts as a simple sci-fi about an artist turns into a dystopian political adventure with a powerful message. I identified with June, with her uncertainty and desire to do the right thing (even if she didn't know what that was) and I think most teens will be able to relate. Palmares Tres is a city with a real voice, and provides a colorful and rich backdrop that makes me wish there were more books I could read set in this world.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    4Q,4P (my VOYA ratings)I loved the writing in this book, it's poetic and beautiful. I love the lack of boundaries regarding gender and in who one chooses to love and the openness to which people live in this world in this way. I love the description of the land and sea; the descriptions of the different levels of the Palmares Tres. I had a hard time following the story in places though. I also had a hard time understanding the meaning behind some of the traditions and rules in Palmares Tres. Science fiction isn't really my cup of tea so, I found myself somewhat disengaged with this story.Overall, I think the intrigue in this story exists in June's character: she is both wise and naive; artistic, beautiful, thoughtful and also careless and egocentric. I think her experiences mirror many aspects of adolescent development and because of this she is someone young adults can resonate with. I love the writing and the descriptive writing - not so much a fan of the story line.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    The Summer Prince is an intriguing story of love, art, and life intermixed. Told from the perspective of June the reader comes to experience the shedding of innocence of fantasy as reality becomes more complicated through the experiences and emotions that the characters face. At times it is difficult to understand the perspective of the narrator as the content is so extreme. A world in which human sacrifice is the means of supporting a government is just mind-boggling. While it might be easy to assume that this is a story about love and friendship the themes presented within the works are far more complex. It creates an image of a society built directly on the ruins of the graves of the generations that preceded. For the reader once is able to consider what is right and what is wrong in such extreme circumstances and realize the divide that exists in current society through the contrast to this fantastical world with our own.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This is a story about love, art, friendship, growing up, technology, politics, and ethics set in Palomeres Tres, a futuristic Brazilian city that is governed by women: a queen and a retinue of "Aunties." The summer king is elected by the people to rule only ceremonially, and at the end of his term he must die after choosing the next queen. June, a young privileged artist from Tier Eight befriends Enki, the young summer king from the Verde (the ghetto), and together they create art that shakes up their city and fuels a growing rebellion. Despite their growing friendship, June must never forget that when winter arrives, Enki is slated to die. I really enjoyed the fully realized future Brazil Alaya Dawn Johnson created. The story was heartbreaking and surprising, and June's journey to self-actualization was bittersweet. When I finished this book, I had the feeling that I had just read something truly unusual.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    5Q, 4PI am an avid fantasy reader and really enjoyed the dark premise of this novel: sacrifice of human beings for "peace". I enjoyed that the cast for this novel is primarily minority, and takes place in a futuristic, dystopian Brazil where sexuality, age, and relationships are fluid and not as heavily stigmatized as they are today. I feel this novel is accessible to a wide variety of readers both teen and adult, and is primarily easy to follow and somewhat lyrical in prose. Often the story will pause and there will be a poetic interlude where the narrator reflects on some (disturbing) aspect of society. While some of the words written in Portuguese can be off putting for those not familiar with either Spanish or Portuguese, I feel that the novel is easy to follow with a compelling plot, sympathetic main character and a social examination of technology, race, class, language, and power and how it affects society.