The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince

Book - 2013
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In a Brazil of the distant future, June Costa falls in love with Enki, a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três' matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.
Publisher: New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780545417792
0545417791
9780545417808
0545417805
9780545520775
0545520770
Branch Call Number: y JOHNSON 2013
Characteristics: 289 p. ; 22 cm

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From Library Staff

In a Brazil of the distant future, June and Gil become involved with Enki, a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três' matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

In a Brazil of the distant future, June Costa falls in love with Enki, a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três' matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

In a Brazil of the distant future, June Costa falls in love with Enki, a fellow artist and rebel against the strict limits of the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três' matriarchal government, knowing that, like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.


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w
watkinsm
Mar 18, 2016

I love this book! Almost all of the dystopian/futuristic society books I've read have taken place in the United States. This was a refreshing change of scenery. The story was immersive and the pacing was fantastic. I really enjoyed this book, and it's definitely one of my favorites!

QueenBoadicea Jul 06, 2015

A terrible war and a plague that has destroyed 70% of the male population has caused dramatic changes in societies around the world. The parameters of this brave new world are written with such clarity that it seems almost like reality, like any dystopia written in the 19th century.

At the center of the story is Enki, the prince doomed to die at the end of his one-year tenure. The character of Enki is a bit of a cipher. Composed as he is of human flesh and bio-modifications that allow him to link to the mechanics of the city around him, he comes off as being so inscrutable even his lovers don’t quite know what to make of him. He cares deeply for his city and yet, at the same time, he’s willing to wound his people. As one character stated, “He knows exactly how he hurts people, and he cares, and he does it anyway.” At times he seems almost inhuman. While this is enough to make him fascinating, it keeps him at a distance; you can’t quite care for him the way others do.

Therefore, most of the drama centers on June Costa and her ambitions as an artist. If she comes off as hard hearted at times, you’re made to understand why: because her art means so much to her. We are made to see how she connects with it, how she connects through it and the lengths to which her own ruthlessness will push her. Enki can afford to be careless about her art. He has only one year to live and June has over a century in it after he’s gone.

This is a most unusual story, about the death of a prince and the changing of a world. Dreamy, thrilling and terrible, “The Summer Prince” barrels towards its conclusion with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy and the ache of profound, destructive and redemptive love.

f
FindingJane
Jul 06, 2015

A terrible war and a plague that has destroyed 70% of the male population has caused dramatic changes in societies around the world. The parameters of this brave new world are written with such clarity that it seems almost like reality, like any dystopia written in the 19th century.

At the center of the story is Enki, the prince doomed to die at the end of his one-year tenure. The character of Enki is a bit of a cipher. Composed as he is of human flesh and bio-modifications that allow him to link to the mechanics of the city around him, he comes off as being so inscrutable even his lovers don’t quite know what to make of him. He cares deeply for his city and yet, at the same time, he’s willing to wound his people. As one character stated, “He knows exactly how he hurts people, and he cares, and he does it anyway.” At times he seems almost inhuman. While this is enough to make him fascinating, it keeps him at a distance; you can’t quite care for him the way others do.

Therefore, most of the drama centers on June Costa and her ambitions as an artist. If she comes off as hard hearted at times, you’re made to understand why: because her art means so much to her. We are made to see how she connects with it, how she connects through it and the lengths to which her own ruthlessness will push her. Enki can afford to be careless about her art. He has only one year to live and June has over a century in it after he’s gone.

This is a most unusual story, about the death of a prince and the changing of a world. Dreamy, thrilling and terrible, “The Summer Prince” barrels towards its conclusion with the inevitability of a Greek tragedy and the ache of profound, destructive and redemptive love.

The Summer Prince brought out a world that allows many questions about our own political structures in this world to surface. In addition to a mysterious relationship, Alaya Dawn Johnson shows a story that shocks its readers, who were lured into thinking only the worst.

BCD2013 Jun 06, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Great follow up to Hunger Games!

p
pfsheckarski
Nov 21, 2013

This book's most remarkable for its vivid world-building, its depiction of a matriarchal society, and its progressive treatment of sexuality, esp. with regard to its LGTBQ characters. Many readers will see its appropriation of Brazilian and Japanese cultures as problematic, and probably rightly so.

y
ychi
May 30, 2013

It all starts with the worldbuilding. This is genuine sci-fi at its best, a whole new world fully realized from the tiers of the pyramid city to the verde and its catinga to Tokyo 10 and its immortal datastreams. Palmares Três is a real city in these pages, and it makes everything about the book so much truer. The themes in this book!: technology is at once deadly and beautiful, art struggles with ambition, death questions meaning. Sexuality is dealt with openly (LBGTQ relationships are normal and our protagonist masturbates in one scene), and the matriarchy is thought-provoking and thorough: "It's okay to cry," he says. "Gil, you know I hate it when you sound like an agony auntie." He laughs. "Am I wrong?" "It's fine for you to cry. You're a beautiful boy." "So girls don't cry? June, I never knew you were so conventional." (p.83) June, oh, she's not immediately relatable, not your insta-friend. She isn't because she's finding herself, figuring out what's important and what's right. And with the stakes so high, you sympathize with her. Don't we all, in the end, want to make something beautiful? Have something beautiful? The supporting cast: Bebel and the relationship she and June have is something absolutely fabulous. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the mean, catty girl trope turned on its head. Gil. Oh, Gil. Sometimes, like June, I hate Enki for hurting him, for loving him, because Gil is such a force of nature it seems wrong. Gil and June have the type of friendship that's so wonderful it endears them both to you at the same time: Gil stroked my hair and I felt warm and happy as a lizard in the sun. (p.60) Gil dances like the old days, like he wants to tempt his own death. (p.225) And Enki. I still don't know if I like this boy or not. Can you love someone who loves the whole world? But at the same time, he knows what's right and what's wrong; and he doesn't love everything the same way. Not the way he loves June. I cling to that as his saving grace. THE ENDING. The last scene. You think Delirium broke your heart? There's nothing like letting your hopes breathe one last breath before plummeting into starless darkness. When you're finished the last sentence, go back to the beginning and read the first page again.

r
readerpants
Feb 19, 2013

Read an interview with Alaya Dawn Johnson here: http://thebrownbookshelf.com/2013/02/03/day-3-alaya-dawn-johnson/.

"Growing up, my favorite writer was Diana Wynne Jones. Fire and Hemlock and Hexwood especially inspired me, because of their complex narrative styles that wrecked havoc on reader expectations. I also hugely admire Ursula K. Le Guin, who is of course famous for her Earthsea series (what I guess would now fall somewhere between middle grade and young adult). But it was her adult novel The Left Hand of Darkness that truly showed me the transformative possibilities of social science fiction. Le Guin made everything I did in The Summer Prince possible.

Her diverse future that questions many of the pieties of modern society made me understand the potential scope of science fiction. And finally, Kindred by Octavia Butler is also an adult novel, but one I had assigned by a particularly intrepid eighth grade English teacher.

Her use of speculative tropes to explore the legacy of slavery has resonated with me ever since."

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blue_dog_8329
May 30, 2017

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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In a world where queens overpower the elected kings of what was once Brazil, a girl goes through the experience of one such sovereign election. When she discovers that she has to choose between her own status and the romantic survival of the boy elected to be a king until his imminent death when the fall season draws near, what is her choice?

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"Wait for me."

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