Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C.M. Mayo

I usually write my own summary of what a book is about. I am at a bit of a loss for this one. The book had so much going on with different sub-plots and character's that I have decided to use the publishers book description.
Book Description:
The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court. Even as the American Civil War raged north of the border, a clique of Mexican conservative exiles and clergy convinced Louis Napoleon to invade Mexico and install the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Habsburg, as Emperor. A year later, the childless Maximilian took custody of the two year old, half-American, Agustín de Iturbide y Green, making the toddler the Heir Presumptive. Maximilian’s reluctance to return the child to his distraught parents, even as his empire began to fall, and the Empress Carlota descended into madness, ignited an international scandal. It is based on the true story and illuminates both the cultural roots of Mexico and the political development of the Americas.
Historical fiction is my passion, however I have never read any based on Mexican history. In fact, I know very little about Mexican history so I was very excited when I got the chance to receive a review copy of this book!

C.M. Mayo is a gifted writer and kept Mexican history at the forefront of this novel, with some beautiful passages. However, I had trouble picking this book up. It's over 400 pages long and the list of characters didn't seem to end. I would just start to remember who a character was and then a new character was introduced. We never get to fully explore any one character which, made it very hard for me to maintain my interest in this book. Because of this, I think that it would have been better if Mayo would have written it as a non-fiction book.

I think that C.M. Mayo has very promising talent but needs to work on her character development and try to look at which characters are important to introduce, for a story's development.

Though this book was a difficult read for me, I am glad that I stuck with it. I did learn some Mexican history. I would recommend this book if you are interest in Mexican history. If you do decide to give it a read, here is a link to an outline of all of the characters. It helped me a bit in keeping track of who was who.


  1. I couldn't make it past the first chapter. The punctuation was rather odd and I found it a bit verbose. I'm usually on the outside looking in though.

  2. I felt similarly. Mayo has a lot of talent, but the book had too much going on and became hard to read. I definitely agree that it would have been better as non-fiction. At least then I would have expected it to be slow.

  3. Sorry this one didn't quite work for you. I tend to dislike it when there are too many undefined characters populating one book, it gets too confusing. Thanks for the honest thoughts on this book.

  4. I've seen lots of reviews saying this one had promise, but didn't quite live up to it. I think I'll pass on it for now but will keep it on my someday list.

  5. Misfit and Meghan, it is a difficult read. I hope that Mayo takes some of the reviews to heart and improves with her next novel.

    Zibliee, it did get confusing with all of the characters.

    Melissa, good decision.