The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
I can’t believe that this is THE FIRST book I’ve read from my TBR pile for this challenge. I was excluding all the new books I got around Christmas and New Year time because the whole point was to read the older books on my pile….and it’s taken this long to get round to them. And still, this was one of the newer ones, but shhh.
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.
This is one of those books that does exactly what it says on the tin, or cover in this instance. Sage is one of four boys that nobleman Conner forces to compete against each other for the ‘prize’ of impersonating Prince Jaron – who was believed to have been killed by pirates several years earlier – in an attempt to save the Kingdom from war.
I was really excited about this book; it looked right up my alley, princes, castles, sword-fights, cute boys etc… and I loved it for all of these things, plus, it was fast-paced and I enjoyed the characters, but, I couldn’t help coming away from it disappointed.
I had too many issues with it to give it any more than 3 Unicorns, despite the fact that I couldn’t put it down and am very much looking forward to the next book in the series…
Issue #1: It was just sooooooooooo predictable. I’m not one of those people who thinks about where a book is going when I’m reading it. I like to be swept away in the story, and therefore I don’t usually detect what will happen next, or how it will end up, but it was impossible not to with this book. I could have told you exactly what was going to happen after about 50 pages.
Issue #2: I found some of the vital plot-lines pretty unbelievable. There was no way that Conner’s plan was ever going to work, which was proven by the end of the book, highlighting how stupid it was in the first place. Plus, there’s no way the four boys would be that compliant, sure Conner had threatened to kill those that didn’t win, but they had plenty of opportunities to escape. And if they stayed because they really wanted to be King, they seemed to think they could go from being being poor orphans to kings without anybody rising an eyebrow. Bizarre. And don’t even get me started on Conner having them serve the princess in disguise, in case she recognised them when one of them eventually became King….no sense!
Issue # 3: Who the hell is Conner anyway, and why take it upon himself to stage this whole thing? Arrghhhh.
I did like that we weren’t sure if Conner was essentially a good guy or bad guy though. Was he really doing this for the good of the kingdom, or is he a tyrant who will do anything to be in control, even if he’d be the invisible puppet-master behind ‘the face’ of the King?
Sage was a good protagonist too. I liked his sarcastic nature and sharp wit. His bromance with Mott, and growing relationship with servant Imogen (the whole fake mute thing was unconvincing though) definitely kept me reading. I just wished there was more depth, and mystery to the story.
But I guess I’ll have to read the next one to see if Nielsen was holding out on us. Plus, look how pretty it is!
Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: The False Prince (The Ascendence Trilogy #1)
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Details: Paperback, 368 pages
Published: June 7th 2012 by Scholastic UK
My Rating: 3/5 (3.5!)