Cover of The Hostage Prince by Jane Yolen

The Hostage Prince

The Seelie Wars: Book One
Adam Stemple
Viking Juvenile, 2013
ISBN-10: 0670014346
ISBN-13: 978-0670014347

My son Adam and I had begun a possible series/trilogy, got as far as a shaky first chapter and an even shakier proposal, and put it aside for stuff that was working better for us. And about five years later, editor Sharyn November asked me if I was interested in doing a middle grade fantasy trilogy for her list. I remembered the chapter and proposal though not what was in it. Read it. KNew it needed oodles of work. Called Adam. We did a full shakeout of the first chapter, added a second chapter, rewrote the proposal top to bottom and sent it out. In record time (editorial decisions can be agonizingly slow) we got word that the series was a go. And so The Hostage Prince was born, the first book of The Seelie Wars trilogy. The writing of it–me writing Snail’s chapters, Adam writing Prince Aspen’s chapters–because I live in Massachusetts and he lives in Minnesota–made things even more difficult, but we’d done novels together before. We had fevered phone calls and frantic emails making sure we agreed on which way the book was going.

And sometimes, as usually happens with a novel, the book took an…um…interesting jog south when we thought it was going north. We had a ball, though. And now we are deep into writing the second book. It’s called…oh wait, as of this writing (May 2013) it doesn’t have a title yet. But it will. Oh, it will. Just watch this space!

The Seelie Wars Trilogy:


  • A Junior Library Guild Selection

Around the web:

What reviewers have said:

  • “The tone alternates between tongue-in-cheek and surprisingly dark, but the end result is an entertaining, thrilling fantasy with a host of endearing characters.”—Publishers Weekly
  • “Richly complex characters carry this exciting coming-of-age journey through royal courts and mystical woods.” — Horn Book Reviews
  • “The Hostage Prince arrived at our house at just the right time. Our tween twin girls have been searching for new books series to follow. They really liked that Snail was a key player and not just a helper throughout the story. Even in fantasy books it’s not always easy to find strong female characters…This is a good book to add to your summer reading list. It’s one different family members can read and enjoy. Our girls still ask questions about the different characters and storylines, so it’s an easy conversation starter for families.”—Oh My Books
  • “Aspen and Snail are refreshingly atypical heroes: Snail’s prickly personality gets her into as much trouble as her clumsiness, and Aspen is neither brave nor clever. Nonetheless, they are quite likable, and both gain strength and self-confidence as their adventure progresses and they learn to trust each other. [The final chapters]…set the stage neatly for the next book in the series, leaving plenty more to learn about the Seelie/Unseelie conflict and the intriguing relationship between the prince and the apprentice”—School Library Journal
  • “Colorful…[Features] a comical troll birthing scene, an ending twist and an intriguing riddle…The prince’s boldly impossible plan will carry readers forward to the next installment.”—Kirkus Reviews
  • “A rather thoughtful look at conflict, loyalty, and courage, and the discussion sparked here will hopefully continue with the proposed sequels.” —BCCB