Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The False Prince Book Review

The False Prince
Jennifer A. Nielsen

Rating (out of 5): 5
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Release Date: Apr 1, 2012
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy
Series Volume: 1
Profanity: None
Violence: Mild
Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Summary (found on Amazon):

In this first book in a remarkable trilogy, an orphan is forced into a twisted game with deadly stakes.

Choose to lie...or choose to die.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.


The first thing to catch my attention about this book was the cover and title, both sparked my interest and imagination. I am happy to say that Jennifer A. Nielsen did not disappoint my expectations. This book has the feel of a well written fantasy novel without the magic and sorcery involved.

The protagonist Sage is a witty sharp tongued orphan who seems too smart for his own good, and I mean that in a positive way. His quick wit and sharp mind get him out of trouble almost as often as they get him into it. Along with three other orphans Sage is dragged into a scheme concocted by one of the kingdom’s noblemen, Conner. This scheme involves a competition between the boys to see which of them has what it takes to become the kingdom’s lost prince.

Secret agenda’s and trickery are the heartbeat of the competition starting with Sage himself. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on the story throws in twists that keep you on the edge of your seat.

The layers-upon-layers in this book created a momentum that never let up. Every detail, no matter how small, felt like it was leading to something. Sage himself always seemed to be hiding something from everyone, including me as a reader. Oftentimes I knew he was hiding something more than he was revealing and it would drag me breathless through more pages as I searched for the reveal that was inevitable, crying out in excitement when I got it right and berating myself when I got it wrong.

I enjoyed seeing the story told from Sage’s point of view. Not only because he acted as an unreliable narrator (something I love) but because it’s not often I get to read a book written from the perspective of a male character and I enjoy the difference when it happens.

Each of the books characters are interesting with each one having their own agendas and backgrounds. Not one felt like a cookie cutter creation with each one being well rounded. And while you may not find yourself loving every character, you will find a grudging respect for some, and more than one will surprise you by the end of the story.

One of the best parts of this book is that it leaves you feeling satisfied with it’s ending. Yes you desperately want more, but that’s because you’ve fallen in love with the characters and the world, not because you’ve been left with a cliffhanger.

I would (and am) recommending this book to anyone and everyone that I can, both old and young. It’s a great read from start to finish, a true gem to discover. I only recommend waiting to start it until you have time to read it from cover to cover.


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