Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Release Date: April 1, 2012 (hardcover)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Copy provided by publisher
Overall: 5 Stars
The thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger, deceit, and hidden identities will keep readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
Sage, an orphaned thief with a sharp tongue and a sharper wit, is one of four boys chosen to participate in a lethal contest. After being plucked from the streets by a nobleman named Conner, Sage learns that Conner plans to choose one of the orphans to impersonate a long-lost prince in the hopes of averting a civil war. Conner's rules of play become quite clear after he murders one of the boys who will not compete. Suddenly winning matters very much.
Sage is defiant and cunning and utterly irrepressible. He knows that Conner's motives are questionable at best, yet he also realizes that his life balances on a sword's point—he must be chosen to be the prince or he will certainly be killed. But the other two boys, Sage's rivals, have their own plans as well, and are competing as though their lives depend on it—which, they do.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a stunning twist raises the stakes to an even deadlier level. Nothing is sacred, nothing is predictable, and nobody can be trusted.
The first book in a new trilogy, this brilliant and heart-racing tale is taut with danger and adventure, lies and deadly truths that will take the reader's breath away.
Every once in awhile, you read a book that completely commands your attention, causing the world to disappear around you as it takes readers away to a land far, far away. The False Prince is one of those novels. I was so lost in its pages that when I reached the conclusion, I was startled to realize that so much time had passed and I'd barely noticed. Jennifer A. Nielsen has written an amazing fantasy novel filled with adventure, danger and intrigue which made it simply impossible for me to put down.
The kingdom of Carthya is teetering on the edge of civil war while its enemies surround their borders, waiting for their moment to strike. Unbeknownst to the entire land, the royal family has been murdered and Bevin Connor, a nobleman, has come up with a cunning plan to not only establish peace, but also to further his own ambitions. He has carefully chosen three orphans who resemble Prince Jaron, long believed to have been lost at sea years ago, and after two weeks of testing them, he will select one of the boys to be the false prince.
Sage, a thief and one of the orphans Connor takes back to his estate, understands the dangerous waters he's now treading. He may be a smart-mouth and impulsively speak what's on his mind in a show of bravado when it would be better to hold his tongue, but he's actually a much more clever boy than most people give him credit for. I took a shining to Sage right away and even laughed at some of his antics, all the while rooting for him to succeed against the other boys.
Jennifer A. Nielsen has a very descriptive writing style that brings her setting and characters to life, yet she still manages to withhold information and leave things unsaid until the time it needs to be crucially revealed. It was a very skillful approach which left me shaking my head in awe because she's left clues, but they're so unnoticeable at first that you don't make the connection right away. And as the story continues to build toward the climax and the stakes are raised ever higher, revelations are made that will leave you gasping in shock.
The first novel in The Ascendance Trilogy, Jennifer A. Nielsen's The False Prince is an absolute must-read for fantasy fans! Sage's unpredictable actions will keep you on your toes the entire time you're reading, and by the time you reach the exciting conclusion, you'll be wishing book two was already out in stores!
Thanks so much to Scholastic Canada for providing this review copy! Do you have what it takes to be the False Prince? You can take a fun quiz on Scholastic Canada's website and find out!