Monday, July 9, 2012
The False Prince
From the book jacket:
ONE TREACHEROUS PLAN.
AN ENTIRE KINGDOM TO FOOL.
In a faraway land, civil war is brewing. To unify his kingdom's divided people, a nobleman named Conner devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him on the throne. Four orphans are forced to compete for the role, including a defiant and clever 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. His rivals will be devising their own plots as well, so Sage must trust no one and keep his thoughts hidden.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of deceit unfolds, until finally, a truth is revealed that may very well prove more dangerouns than all of the lies taken together.
Jennifer A. Nielsen has woven a heart-racing tale full of danger and bold adventure, lies and deadly truths that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
My rating: *****
Holy freaking cow.
This book is amazing.
I've been reading hype on this book for months and so I tried to lower my expectations because I was getting really excited. There was no need to lower anything, because it met and went way beyond my expectations. This book has everything I love in a fantasy: characters worth staying up late over, courtly intrigue, nail-biting mystery, secret passageways galore, and pinches of romance.
Those characters? So awesome. I loved Sage from the start. He's clever, cheeky, a smashing good thief, arrogant in a good way, brave, reckless, daring, full of heart, so smart that I was pages behind him in figuring things out, and with the kind of secrets that made me shout out loud (BIG spoiler: It all came out about 270 pages in and I actually started jumping up and down, screaming, "I knew it!!! I knew it!!" My kids think I'm insane. But seriously, Jennifer Nielsen's a genius because from the start I suspected Sage was actually the prince, but she made it so I couldn't tell for sure until she told me. Brilliant use of foreshadowing and clues. Brilliantly layered plot.) It was impossible to put this book down because of Sage; I read it in less than a day.
The story is so good. I really couldn't turn the pages fast enough because I had to figure out what was going to happen. I had to stop my eyes from jumping ahead, every time I turned a page. The other orphans Sage is competing with to pose as the false prince were such interesting multi-layered characters too. I liked that Sage wasn't the only one I cared about because it made the whole story all that more compelling.
This book has immediately moved to the top of my to-buy list. It is a great story that really stands out and I can't wait for the other two books in the series. It's a perfect book for all ages, both boys and girls. Sage is the best orphan since Harry Potter. I promise you will love him.
Recommended for fans of The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner, The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan, and anyone who loves a great castle, a great story, and great characters.