Monday, January 24, 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal: Review

The False Princess
By: Eilis O'Neal

Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Published: January 25, 2011; EgmontUSA
Source: ARC received from publisher

Author Website | Author Twitter | Author Blog


Summary (from Goodreads): Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.

My Review: I have something to confess. For some reason I've always been a little bit apprehensive about declaring my love for fantasy. I really love stories about princess and dragons and court intrigue.  But, I'm ready to say now, I LOVE FANTASY.

And, I really loved this book. Sinda started out as a character that was weak, flawed, and quite two-dimensional. By the end of the book she was lively, strong, and very in control. It was one of the best transformations in a character that I've seen in awhile.  I really enjoyed reading through her progression.

Another absolute plus to this book was the romance. I don't need to tell you all that I am a sucker for the best friend romance. It really gets me every time. Thus, I absolutely fell for Keirnan hook, line and sinker. I was rooting for them to get past their shyness and misunderstandings and realize that they are PERFECT for each other.

Sinda's wizard tutor, Philantha, reminded me a lot of Irys in Magic Study. She's kind of an outcast, has her own ways of doing magic, and doesn't really care what others think. I absolutely adored her.

I had a pretty good idea of where the story was going the entire time. Which was actually quite nice. It was kind of like floating down a lazy river. The plot just flowed, curved in all the right places, and ended up very nicely.

The only complaint that I had was that I felt like a few loose ends needed to be tied up. First, Sinda's aunt just kind of disappeared. It seemed like the only use that she had was that she gave some background on Sinda. Which, was helpful, but I really would have liked to have gotten to know her better.

I think this is one of those books that I am going to be recommending a lot this year. It was very well-written, and I can't wait to see more from Eilis O'Neal.

My Rating:


Profanity: None
Sexuality: Mild; references
Drugs and Alcohol: None
Violence: Mild

6 comments:

  1. I'm kind of starting to miss high fantasy in YA. It seems like lately, everyone's focusing on urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one, and I can't wait to check it out!

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  2. I wonder why you were reluctant to declare your love for fantasy? It's my favorite genre! :) I love epic/high fantasy. This one looks interesting because I love princesses and court intrigue.

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  3. I loved Sinda's character development, too! And yeah, I did wonder about her aunt. A lot of the secondary characters seemed to just pop up for a few pages and then fade away again, or they weren't nearly as developed into as fully-fleshed out people as they could have been. Maybe that would have made the book really big, though, so stuff got cut out?

    Also, I have some doubts about the validity of the villain's supposedly clever mind/plan/etc, because there are some serious, um...plot holes, maybe? For instance, the genealogy charts. Would the villain, if they were really as clever as the story makes them out to be, really have left those genealogy charts untouched, just waiting to be found? If I was the villain, I would have engineered some sort of "accidental" fire or something to get rid of those. You know? Also there was some other stuff.

    Anyway, I still really enjoyed The False Princess! It's just that I have questions. SO MANY QUESTIONS.

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  4. I'm actually surprised to hear that you liked the writing of this book because that was my least favorite part. I'm pretty picky, though. My favorite parts were Keirnan and Philanthra--I thought they were both great. And maybe all of those loose ends means there's a sequel in the works? Now I'm curious. Great review!

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  5. No need to apologize for your likes!

    That's an interesting choice of occupation--dyer. The poet Auden had a famous book of essays called The Dyer's Hand (colored by what it's dipped in).

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  6. this books sounds interesting.... i'm 13 & the character development part sounds similair to a book i'm writing !! it's called True Valor !!rememeber that name because it will probably be 1 of the new york times bestsellers when i finish it in a couple of years!! i'm not trying to brag but 1 can hope & dream , persue & achieve!!;]!);:)

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