Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0545284134
Published April 1, 2012
Hardcover, 352 pages
Ages: 12+

An action-adventure YA novel, smartly written, with taut suspense and fantastic twists and turns leading to a breathless ending—that's what my daughter and I thought of this book. In this medieval fantasy story, a plot is devised to impersonate the king's long-lost son by choosing four orphan boys and training them for this role. But only one will be chosen, and the others killed. Sage is a quick-witted, but defiant orphan boy, and from his first-person narrative we journey with these four boys pitted against each other to discover a kingdom on the brink of treason, deceit and downfall.

My daughter and I both read this book at different times but we had the same reaction. It was unputdownable! The reader is caught up right from the first scene when Sage who just stole a piece of roast meat is running for his life. Although there is much action in this novel it is not at the expense of character development. The author deftly builds up the four orphan boys, showing their strengths and their weaknesses. The plot is original and is well-paced—not one boring scene in this book.

Sage is a charismatic character. He is bright, non-chalant, and resistant to the training. He does not want to be this false prince they are training him to be because it's hard to pull off and will lead to his death for treason if he is discovered. But at the same time, he will be killed if he is not chosen. His dilemma caused both my daughter and I to keep turning those pages faster and faster. How would it all end?

What a fantastic story this was! It had everything kids (and adults) love—adventure, humour, believable characters and a smart plot. Both my daughter and I will count it as one of the best books we've read so far this year. This is the first book in The Ascendance Trilogy, but it has a satisfying ending—no cliffhangers. We simply can't wait to read Book Two.

Note: This book is rated V = mild violence for a scene with killing.
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Reviewed by Laura and Daughter

Disclosure: Thanks to Nikole Kritikos from Scholastic Canada for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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