The Merchant Prince Book 1: Returning Home
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Enter a world of deceit and assassins. Augustus DeCastellian is a member of a wealthy merchant family, with ports all over the known world. He is sent on a voyage to new lands to open trade routes, but when he returns he will need to fight, using his tools of manipulation and cunning, for what he is owed.
Author's note: This story is somewhat slow-paced, especially in comparison to the norm on Royal Road. The first three chapters act almost as a prologue, to give you a feel for what the rest of the story will be like. So, I suggest new readers try to get to the end of chapter 3 before deciding if this story is for them.
A few of my reviews have said that this story is abnormal for Royal Road. I agree with that sentiment, at least based on what I've read on the site. It was just an idea that was in my head, that I began trying to write once my hobbies were cancelled due to the virus. I found Royal Road after I started writing it. Honestly, it's probably not even tailored for the web-novel format. But it's the story I wanted to tell.
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A wonderful story that is not the norm here on RR, but a treat to find and to read. It's a very politically heavy story, done well, with well researched and done customs. You feel as if you are in this world and setting right from the very start.
I get vibes of The Prince and Merchant of Venice while reading it- both from having an older style to the writiting itself, and echoed in the setting.
Augustus is a great character. Our protagonist is, like many of those in the land, very politically savvy. It's very much a cloak and dagger story and we're rooting for him even if he's not your traditional hero. I like Marielle as well and her interactions with him.
A few minor grammar errors in some of the early chapters, but they clear up and go away. Flow is great, setting is on point, and the characters make the story.
Augustus is a rear kind of hero here on any web novel website i have come across. Very few stories actually have an ambitious main character who moves the plot forward in such a way. This is one of the best stories written stories i have ever come across, the duologue is one of the best written and its narrative flow is poetic. The political intrigue this story has is entertaining and well thought out.
The Merchant Prince is a tale about a member of the merchant family in a battle of wits against the members of his own family.
I've only read to what amounts as the prologue of the story. As such, I can't comment much on the actual plot. But the prologue does its job extremely well. It serves as a good introdution to the protagonist. Especially well is the deceit. The reader is lured into this false conflict between the inhabitants of the island and the invaders so speak, but then it reveals what the story is truly about and what the actual tone will be: a tale of lies, deceit, manipulation, betrayal, and no heroes.
The grammar was okay for the most part, but missing commas, strange syntaxes and run of sentences can diminish the reading experience somewhat.
The Merchant Prince's biggest and so far only flaw is its narrative style. The way the story is written that it is told from the perspective of a narrator that accompanies the characters on their adventures. As such, it prevents one from truly immersing into the characters and connect with them. One notable example was the hanging scene. If the writing had focused more on the senses of the characters involved and their body language, the scene would have made an even bigger impact.
Also, and while this may sound nitpicky, I would recommand to increase the font size. Reading it hurt my eyes eventually.
So far, there's much of a focus on too many characters. Augustus had the lion share of the focus, and he is a complex and intriguing character for sure. The reveal of his true colors was well done. This early into the story, it's okay that most other characters aren't developed. Though, the author was able to use them to set the story up and make it clear that there will be a lot of gray.
From what I've read so far, The Merchant Prince is a good story with tons of potential. If you're tired of the flood of LitRPGs and prefer something more House of Cards-esque, then check this one out.
Overall - 5/5
Had to question if I was going to get hooked into the story, but that all changed right after the events of Chapter 2. Chapter 1 was mostly peaceful, then Chapter 2 just changed all of that.
Grammar - 5/5
Just one complaint, I suggest adding space with each paragraph, since I got confused with some parts. Thankfully, the indentions do help. Despite my complaint, I'll still uphold my 5-star rating for this.
Story - 5/5
I was tricked into thinking that the story was all about Augustus and the natives they met in the prologue of the story.
The actual story is all about the nobility backstabbing each other, just so they can receive power in their family (i.e. the DeCastellian family). It's a nice break from all the common types of novels here.
Style - 4.5/5
Now, there are some parts of the story with extremely long dialogue. I suggest shortening some of it. The descriptions, mixed in with the slow pacing, helped me get a vivid imagination of how the world, and characters looked.
Despite the slow pacing, I was managed to be still hooked in. The pacing helps a lot with the story. It helps us understand more about the world the story is set in, the characters, etc. I could see why the author chose to do so.
The author has quite a wide vocabulary, so good on that as well.
Characters - 5/5
Out of all the characters I've been introduced to so far, Augustus is the one I see which is fleshed out. We know all about his past, his personality, etc.
As for the events in Chapter 3, it was quite a joy knowing that he was also disgusted by the actions done by Marcus. However, in Chapter 6, I do feel like he was kind of a douche to Marielle.
Now, in Chapter 4, we are introduced to the 2nd protagonist, Marielle. She was a character that out of all the people we are introduced to, the one I'm quite intrigued about. I was especially hooked on to her right after Chapter 5,
Seeing how she had to adapt to the upcoming marriage of hers with Augustus. She had to throw out her old lifestyle, and replace it with a new one.
The villain, whose name I shall not mention, is quite... a douchebag, just from reading the dialogue about him.
Seeing how he killed a relative of his and attempted to strangle Augustus, I really wanna see justice get served to him. I want to see him suffer.
Now, for the final verdict, do I recommend this story? Hell yes, I would indeed recommend it!
TL;DR: Great economics and political story based around a male and female lead. Male lead is more ruthless, having lived a far more stressful situation than the female lead who is only taught accountancy and brief politics at a later age. Romance appears unlikely, but who knows. Grammar good, spelling good, and rare info dumps.
From the title alone, it should be easy to see this story heavily focuses on the economy, with a somewhat lesser focus on the political power held by these wealthy individuals. In the first chapter alone we see the focus on profitable resources, which escalates with the female lead's introduction only mattering due to a behind-the-scenes economic deal. Political power appears to play a smaller role here, but that may just be due to this still being the start of the story.
The author makes an express intention to make sure we understand the relationship between various characters, further signifying depth to this immersion. However, this does occasionally come with the flaw of over-feeding the reader with too much information. Though, with pronounced writing and descriptions , it is hard to ever feel annoyed by such worldbuilding.
Romance may take part later, but the male lead currently sees the female lead as a business partner. Additionally, as part of a noble household, her arranged marriage comes to no surprise. However, such a weak emotional connection is great for creating a purely professional bond, but that will entirely depend on the author's decision for any possible romance.
Grammar is good, with the only issue being a misplaced comma every here and there. However spelling is excellent, and I found none in my read through. Maybe the most important part in regards to this is how the author uses paragraphs that rarely form a wall of text. Some do go on for a tad too long, but there are no thousand word blocks here. A follow-up effect of this is how rarely the author continues a random tangent that may form an info dump bordering filler.
Overall: Has potential but lack of chapters leaves so much of what I said up to speculation for later parts of the story.
Follow Augustus DeCastellian, prominent member of a powerful and wealthy merchant family as he embarks on a adventure filled with political intrigue, wit and guile. The plot picks up quickly in chapter three and the author does a wonderful job of keeping the reader engaged with witty and intricate dialogue and vivid descriptions of the world which he envisions. The sequences are tight and the language is solid. Definitely one to recommend!