The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen: Review

Posted March 26, 2012 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 34 Comments

The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen: ReviewThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Published by Scholastic on 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Family, Orphans & Foster Homes, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 342
Buy on Amazon

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.

pst! Read my review in The Deseret News

Peace is teetering on the edge in the kingdom of Carthya. A divided court and rumors that the royal family has been murdered cause Conner, a nobleman, to devise a plan to unite the kingdom. He purchases four orphans to train and compete as impersonators of the lost Prince Jaren, including a particularly fiesty one named Sage. With only a few weeks to prepare, and his life on the line, Sage has to learn to play the part and join in on the scheme.

The False Prince is the best middle-grade historical fiction that I have read this year. Period. I loved this book from start to finish, and was captivated. From the very beginning, Sage had my heart. He’s such a rascal, but at the same time, he’s just a puzzle waiting to be put together. In many ways he reminded me of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Thief series. Like Gen, Sage is a thief. They both have this attitude that they just can’t be bothered to care about something, even when they clearly do not have the upper hand. And, like Gen, Sage manages to somehow always seem to have the upper hand. Even when he doesn’t. Is that confusing? That’s the beauty of both of these characters. I couldn’t get enough!

In addition to its dynamic characters, Jennifer Nielsen has created a plot with twists and turns in all the right places. Upon first glance, the plot seems easy to pin down. But where this novel truly shines is by building upon itself with action not immediately shown the readers. This results in a climax that will have readers turning back to previous pages to find all the clues that were there the entire time. The way that the critical plot points unfolded was absolutely brilliant. Like a great writer, Nielsen plants little things earlier in the novel that turn out to mean something later in the book.

Give The False Prince to your reluctant readers, particularly boys. There isn’t much romance in The False Prince, which is why I would consider it an upper middle grade or lower young adult. I’m hoping that as the trilogy continues, there will be a little something more there for the girls. But, as it is, I really think that girls will enjoy this book too. “The False Prince” contains very little violence and no heavy language.

I’ve got a signed ARC to give away! Enter using the rafflecopter form below. If you’re in a RSS reader or email subscription, you’re going to have to click over to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


34 responses to “The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen: Review

  1. Nicole Krell

    I would love to win this! I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer at a book store opening and she is so nice! Plus, David Levithan raves about this book. He says it's Game of Thrones for kids.

  2. I'm so in love with this book. I've had MWT's series on my list for so long, but I'm bumping it up now that you've said Sage reminds you of the main character. Thanks!

  3. I want this book on my shelves so bad, especially in my future History classroom! I'd love to see some kids start picking up more books!

    Thanks for the giveaway

  4. thanks so much for this giveaway! I saw this book on recently and would LOVE to win it 🙂 Thanks for your review, sounds like an amazing book!

Leave a Reply