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I read this series about 15 years ago and so my memory is spotty, but it's been bugging me lately. The main characters are a pair of royal siblings (possibly twins?). The girl is raised in the palace, but the boy is kidnapped as an infant and replaced with a golem. As a result the royal family believes that their son is mentally handicapped because he is very slow both mentally and physically.

The real prince is raised by magical creatures, possibly fairies, although I can't remember exactly except that I'm almost certain that the adoptive parents are very tiny. The only other thing that sticks out to me is one of the main types of magical creatures are centaurs where the animal part isn't a horse. I distinctly remember there being a character with the upper body of a person but the main body of a cat.

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the creature you describe is called a wemic. – eshier May 29 '18 at 13:06
  • Welcome to SFF! Can you take a look at this guide and edit anything else in? For example, was this a short story, novel, etc? Don't forget to register your account! – TheLethalCarrot May 29 '18 at 13:08
  • I think you can call a cat centaur a liontaur, (quest for glory V). If you waved some useless esoteric knowledge – Garret Gang May 30 '18 at 13:41
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/193460/… – Otis Aug 28 '18 at 21:28
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This isn't a perfect match, but in book two of Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Fey series, Changeling, the firstborn of King Nicholas and Queen Jewel is swapped for a golem when he is a week old. As a result the boy is indeed considered to be mentally deficient and part of the story is whether he is competent to become king.

The boy is taken by the Wisps. The Wisps aren't always tiny but frequently manifest as tiny points of light. The boy is named Gift by his Wisp parents, while the golem is named Sebastian by Nicholas and Jewel. At the end of the book Gift and Sebastian meet and become friends.

Gift's sister is called Arianna, and as you say she is raised in the palace. There is considerable debate about whether she should become queen and rule instead of Sebastian/the golem.

The series consists of five books in all, with books two to five following the adventures of Gift and Arianna. The timing is plausible, with Changeling being published in 1996.

However there are no cat/centaurs in the book, though there is a shapechanger called Solanda who shifts between human and cat form. In subsequent books we find that Gift's sister Arianna can also shape change. The series runs to five books so it's possible the cat/centaurs appear in other books in the series.

  • There's never a wiki when you need one. But the Fey series does include a "magical centaur" type of Fey. I think they were called "X Riders", such as Gull Rider, and in power down mode they were normal humanoid fey, in power up mode they become an animal form with the upper body of a humanoid Fey sticking out like a rider with no legs. I'm pretty sure they're present in all the books. I don't recall a Cat Rider though. – Jontia May 30 '18 at 14:12
  • Here's a quote from book 3 about Riders. > The Riders had two forms. In their Fey form, they looked nearly human, except for their feathered hair and beaked noses. In their bird form. they were all bird except for the small human riding on the bird's back. They looked like tiny Fey riding on a bird, but they were, in truth, part of the bird, their legs and lower torso subsumed into the bird's form. The only danger they posed in bird form was that they had two brains - and sometimes the bird's instinctual one took over. – Jontia May 30 '18 at 18:36

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