82 pages 2 hours read

Scott Westerfeld


Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2009

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Character Analysis

Prince Aleksander of Hohenberg

Prince Aleksander, more commonly referred to as Alek, is one of the story’s two protagonists. He is the only child of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his common-blood wife, Princess Sophie. As such, Alek was raised in a palace and given the education of a prince, but he cannot inherit any of his father’s lands or titles. This is the root of the confusion surrounding Alek’s identity. He thinks and acts like a prince but is painfully aware that he has no power. Alek is a round and dynamic character who changes significantly over the course of the story.

As the book opens, Alek is playing with items on his desk, acting out war strategies and sulking because his parents didn’t take him to Sarajevo with them. At 15 years old, Alek is still a child and thinks of war as a game. He grows up quickly when he is forced out of bed and into a stormwalker and told that his parents have been murdered. He is hunted for weeks by assassins. Despite the danger he is in, Alek is pretentious and spoiled, often upset that his crewmen don’t give him the respect he thinks he deserves. However, as he encounters more danger and experiences the horrors of war, Alek learns to think outside of himself.