Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen - 5 Stars!

Hi all!

Here is a review of an adventure YA book that has to be one of the best overall I have read this year!

Series: The Ascendance Trilogy  #1
Release date: 1st of April 2012
Published by: Scholastic, Inc 
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: YA, Historical, Adventure
Pages: 342 in Hardcover
Source: Bought from The Book Depositry


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.


Wow, just wow! I haven’t enjoyed an adventure book to this degree for a long time. Most of it all due to the hero Sage, but the plot, other characters and situations were all very gripping to begin with as well. I also don’t remember when last reading a book in one go, but I guess all this just helps to prove that The False Prince is an engaging, fun and entertaining read, a book I can confidently recommend.

In the book four boys are set up against each other to compete for being the central player in the ultimate deception with the losers facing grave consequences. Our hero is Sage who is the perfect dark horse of the competition. From the moment in the first chapter where Sage runs into the hands of his new owner the story is full of intrigue, excitement and you have no idea what’s going to happen next even though the plot itself is not overly complicated or strikingly original. But everything works together beautifully to form one of the best YA books I have read this year.

My only itsy-bitsy complaint is that the plot twist was kind of predictable even tough it was craftily “hidden” with diverse unreliable narrator and other literary and non literary devices. Still, everything else like the journey to the climax and especially Sage and his antics were anything but foreseeable.


Sage – such an amazing hero! He isn’t the most, well not in a million years, suitable candidate for prince but he sure makes for a wonderful hero and somebody to root for 100%. He’s a troublemaker with honest intentions but who seems and acts anything but honest. You can’t trust anything he says because he will prove you otherwise and still you’ll end up surprised at how things manages to turn as they did. A master at lying, a great actor who could fool anyone, a skillful survivor, a sneaky smart alec, noble but often misunderstood, a rouge who makes his own rules and very very intelligent. I can go on and on why he’s so great. Sage is also immensely stubborn, rash and so set on his own ideas and beliefs that his determination often leads him into quite self-destructive and harmful situations. To prove a point or to achieve that the course of action will eventually be in his favor he is willing sacrifice his wellbeing. At one point I wanted to just have him stop bringing himself into dangerous situations and take more concern for himself. But I have to admit that I wouldn’t have Sage any other way. Everything he is makes him a character I just can’t help but to love.

Conner, the villain of the story, I felt was a little misunderstood. His goals and dedication to his country were admirable and patriotic but the means to achieve his purpose didn’t pay any regards to causalities and huge damage they might cause. I didn’t view him as an ambitious power-hungry tyrant, he at least to me seemed too ambiguous for that, placing the wellbeing of his country before his own needs with the gain he would attain as being something like an added bonus. So I didn’t find him a villain too detestable, he wasn’t black or white but seated solidly in the gray.

The other prince candidates while not even close to the awesomeness of Sage were all distinguishable and individual. What kept me on edge about the boys was the fact that you could never be clear who was on whose side or if anyone even had a preference for any side apart their own.

Other main characters were all mostly staff at Conner’s manor. Mott, Conner’s aid and the servant Imogen are noteworthy. The relationship that developed between Mott and Sage was interesting and I adored the sprout of possible romance between our hero and Imogen. Everyone had a role to play and apart from some the people in the book were very likable for various reasons or depending on their purposes.


Why was this book so short? Or maybe it felt that way since I was so engaged that I didn’t even notice when the end had come and, honestly, didn’t ever want it to finish.
I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel and what’s more I have no idea what turn the story will take. The plot definitely leads up to a second book but it’s a huge guess how the author plans to exactly continue, the options are endless but as with Sage you could never know what he’d do next or how the story would develops and I wouldn’t accept any less of this series. All I can say is that I’m on the edge of my seat waiting impatiently for the second book of the trilogy!

5 stars!



  1. So agree with your review. I fell in love with this book. I agree that it's one of the best books this year. Can't wait for the sequel.

  2. Thanks for the feedback!
    Yes, this is definitely a must read, I kind of felt that I would love it as soon as I read the synopsis. When will the sequel come out!!??