It is hard to fathom that this book is the author’s first. The writing is polished, the story sophisticated but accessible, the plot multi-layered and allegorical. While part of a series, it is a satisfying whole, yet it left me with an appetite for discovering what will unfold in the land of Nye’t Pahl in the rest of the series. I’ve only read a few fantasy novels, preferring historical and sociological fiction, but PrinceFall embraced an understanding of human nature and the dynamics of societal interaction which extends into all realms. Thus, it has much in common with great novels in other genres. But there is certainly nothing common about this excellent work.
Amid the richly textured lineage of Nye’t Pahl’s citizens, “PrinceFall” sets the foundation for the next book in the series as it introduces readers to the culture, relationships, and dynamics of the primary characters as they struggle with death, discovering the true meaning of honor, and overcoming their insecurities. Written in an intimate journal-like style that reflects the fantasy elements and vivid description common in an epic tale, Rivers captures the heart of the people—their fears of failure, their weighty family pride, and the secrets that are to unravel their destinies. It flashes to distant past memories, and then swiftly plunges ahead into the meat of the tale. The following excerpt prepares readers for the threat that is to come:
“Word has reached me that is troubling, Son. I feel it is time that you finally be allowed to discover the true purpose of all of my work.”
He nodded, “What would these troubling words contain?”
“A warning. A promise,” I answered quietly, “and a rite of passage. One will free you, one will haunt you and another will give you great honor.”
Broken into two parts, part 1 follows the paths of several characters, including future king Teyan, and his broken brother Mathys, as the relationships weave a tapestry of friendship, familial pride, and coming of age. Part 2 segues into the plight of Nye’t Pahl and their efforts to protect their future.
Packed with beautiful prose and led by characters readers intimately relate to, “PrinceFall” is a riveting tale that sets up a series that is bound to satisfy and entertain.
C.L. Rivers shared her debut novel, PrinceFall, with me at a time when I most needed a break from my regular genres. Fantasy Adventure was the perfect change of pace, and Rivers does it beautifully in this first book of what is planned as a series. (A peek into Book 2, Maelstrom, is included at the end of Princefall.)
It’s a story of family and lineage, power and humanity, leading with Teyan and his unjust fall from grace. The prose felt intimate, sometimes as if a member of my own family was reading something out loud that she wrote for me. Or rather, multiple members of my family telling me a story, as PrinceFall is told by multiple viewpoints and generations, giving it that “epic” feel, which made me look forward to the rest of the series all the more. This narrative style surprised me a bit, as Rivers is also an accomplished sports writer, focusing on the NFL. How could a football writer cross over so easily into this romantic fantasy world? I know that other readers who are more into fantasy than I am would be impressed by the place, Nye’t Pahl, with its many landscapes and neighborhoods (map included!).
There are some gripping scenes, especially the scene during the flood, which ends in a way (I don’t want to spoil the story) that sparks the previously dormant power struggle between Teyan and his brother and will eventually decide the fate of the city of Nye’t Pahl.
“Praise for C.L. Rivers’ debut novel, PrinceFall. Unique usage of the first person has allowed Rivers to create a fantasy work that is part history, part epic adventure. A recommended read for nearly any age.” – S.G. Fitzgerald, World of Faerie and Wizard EZine
“A compelling piece of fiction…Rivers uses a unique method of combining past to present and gives a very visually stimulating piece of work here. The action builds once the histories are completed and by the end you want to know what is going to happen next. Overall, I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars as an upcoming fantasy must-read.” – Wes N. Hart
“…”PrinceFall”, was a fantastic read! I knew it was set in a fantasy world, but was amazed at how events in it resemble some of our real-world struggles. Kudos for finding a way to combine the visual elements of a Tolkien-esque world with a story that could be relevant in today’s society. I can’t wait to read “Maelstrom”! 5 stars! – Josh Barton
“I did not anticipate that after a very detailed back story in the form of “writings” or records, the son – Jett – would discover such an intimate look at his father (Teyan) or that his own son (Orgon) would then be included in what looks to be an epic adventure indeed! The way you were able to switch viewpoints and voices made me completely forget what I imagined your voice would sound like (as a female author) and really feel invested in each character’s life story. The twist near the end had me wanting to call on the phone and say ‘but I want to know what happens next now!’ Engrossing, entertaining and you have me hooked. Really great job on your first fictional novel. Who would read this and know it was done by a “sports journalist” unless they already knew you? I would never have guessed if I didn’t. Please hurry up and release the next book!” – Bridget Bailey
“The use of language in Rivers’ story, at first, seemed antiquated and foreign. Upon reaching part two, I realized there was a brilliant reason Rivers chose to use those ‘voices’ in part one. If you love genealogy or family history and the idea of discovering where you came from through your ancestry, ‘PrinceFall’ really touches upon that theme in a unique way. I would recommend this book even as young adult fiction. The messages within really speak of a freedom that few authors attempt to approach. 4/5 stars.” – MaryEllen Montgomery, MaryMont Editorials