Urchin King Book Review and Giveaway

Sher A Hart here. This week’s giveaway hop features Urchin King by Katharina Gerlach. I interviewed her in my first post. and today I’m posting my book review. Hang onto your hat because we’re going back in time, and we might even land on a different Earth, one where magic is real and EVIL has more power to control people. Before I get to that, I’d like to thank  I am a Reader Not a Writer and Murphy’s Library for hosting the Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop.

You can see the new cover in the interview post. Now on to the good stuff.

Urchin KingUrchin King by Katharina Gerlach

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author Katharina Gerlach has a knack for making you feel like you’re inside the story. Authentic medieval historical details add to the visceral effect. In the beginning of Urchin King, a street urchin main character named Paul had difficulty finding enough food to eat. One of his friends was in worse shape with injuries, so it was a relief when Paul was a jerked out of that situation. An ancient law gave him the chance to decide between life and death for a twin he’d never known. Life for the twin meant deception for Paul. He chooses to take the place of his royal brother (that’s where any resemblance to Prince and the Pauper ends) in order to save his brother and help his friends.

When Paul made new friends inside the castle, I worried he might forget the old ones. He didn’t. Let’s just say things didn’t go smoothly when he tried to look and act princely. Events and people prevented his efforts to help his friends until the kingdom was threatened. But even with the help of friends old and new, plus assistance from (magical spoilers), it was touch and go. A lot of go—escapes, chases, and journeys—couldn’t prevent all-out war between kingdoms unless Paul found a way to stop an ambitious enemy from achieving his goals.

At first I thought Urchin King was more of a magical realism book, not my favorite genre, so I was happy when that devious magical adversary appeared. Although Katharina (Cat) foreshadowed some of the events, she kept me guessing on most. And just when Paul thought he could prevent one disaster, a worse one happened. Powerful evil stepped in. And that’s about as much as I can reveal without more spoilers, except to say the author kept me turning the pages and surprising me until the end. I did guess one event. How could Paul will be live happily ever after without love?

The worst drawback I found was unusual punctuation which the author explained was different in the original German.  Although there was a bit of head hopping, it was minor. The reading fun was well worth the time. And the characters were all well developed, even the bad guy, so you will understand their motives even if you don’t agree with their choices. Few authors do this well with character and still keep a high level of suspense and action. I highly recommend Urchin King for anyone old enough to understand the language.

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When you go to the interview post, please take time to watch the book trailer before you fill out the Rafflecopter form. A comment is the only mandatory entry, and I’d love to hear whether my review makes you want to read Urchin King enough to buy it. Also, if you comment here, you don’t need to do it again in the post with the Rafflecopter form. Just be sure to comment using the same ID you used to follow my blog. Are you ready? Either scroll down to my last post or click here!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Thank you for the wonderful review. As soon as I have some more money, I’ll get another (better and more expensive) editor to have another look at the punctuation. It’s a problem I’m working on (hopefully getting better all the time). If only the German rules would fade out of my brain… 😉

    I hope many more people will enjoy Urchin King as much as you did. Thank you for hosting me in this special event.

  2. Great review! Urchin King sounds like an interesting read, and the premise reminds me somewhat of a new book that just came out- The Mapmaker’s Sons by V.L. Burgess, which also tells the tale of twins. So glad I popped over- I am looking forward to checking out this book. Thanks! ~ Jess

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