The False Prince by Jennifer A. NielsenThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Published by Scholastic on April 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 342
Goodreads

The False Prince is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

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.

4.5 Stars

The False Prince was one of the best surprises of the year so far. I went into this book with absolutely zero expectations (thank you, inexistent hype!) and came out flailing, gasping, and fangirling, which is the absolute best and most untainted way to expierence a book.

“A person can be educated and still be stupid, and a wise man can have no education at all.”

The three pillars of The False Prince

♖ In my opinion, the main character, Sage, is this book’s strongest asset. He thieves and rebels. He’s intelligent and feisty but kind-hearted. And he’s a bomb of reckless plans, snappy retorts, and defiance ready to detonate. He’s also an arrogant little ass, which is why he and I got along so well. In short, he’s pretty damn swoon-worthy. To be frank, the book would’ve been only half as good without Sage to wreak havoc. I further liked the characterization of the supporting characters. Latamer is the sickly one and serves as a tool. Roden (or RodenT, as Masooma and I like to call him) is described as a muscle-packed boy with tanned skin – in other words, he’s the doer. Tobias is a skinny boy with a brain full of history facts – he’s the thinker. And, well, Sage is both.

♖ The plot managed to be both unspectacular, as there is no string of catalyzing events, and yet suspenseful as tensions flare high. The plot focuses largely on the relationships between the characters and a web of lies that gorws larger and larger. Usually, slow pacing bothers me, but with a character like Sage, you’ll be in good hands regarding entertainment. What really gripped me regarding the plot were its twists: The plot twists were mind-blowing. Yes, I did have an idea as to how the story could turn out. And yes, I threw them all over board because I thought I was wrong. This kind of plotting actually reminded me a bit of The Kiss of Deception, only backwards.

♖ The third pillar consists of little things I cherish about this book: The soft touch of a slow-burn romance, the tug-of-war between Sage and Conner, and the loyalty of what’s-his-name (see, Nina? This is why we don’t write a review 1 month after having read the book).

“If we can weed out your bad manners and defiant nature, I suspect you could convince the nobles that you are him.”
“If you weed those out, then there’s nothing left of me.”

You don’t want to pick up this book for the action, the swordfights, and the court intrigue. Because, although the book is filled with deceit and scheming, The False Prince rises and falls with its false prince, a strong character who is undoubtedly the core of this refreshing YA fantasy. You’ll want to pick up this book because of Sage, as he’s one of a damn kind.