July 6, 2012

Book Review: The False Prince

On Fridays I like step back and make sure that I am addressing boy readers.  It's so easy to review and highlight books for girls, but I also teach boys, so I need to make sure to find books for them!

Today I have a book review of:

The False Prince
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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.
My Review

I have a 13 year old daughter who, after some pushing, read this book.  Once she read it she told me I HAD to read it!  Of course I always listen to my daughter.....so I read it.  Guess what I'm doing now? Tell you that you HAVE to read it!

Why do I like it? Intrigue. Suspense. Likable characters. Mystery. Twists and turns.  It has them all.  Let me start with Sage the main character.  He was fantastic.  I liked that he was confident yet scared.  Much of the time Sage confidently does what he needs to in order to survive but inside you see how scared he still is.  I liked that because it shows you can be scared to death and still do the right thing!  What I also loved about him - and the writing - was how you never knew how in depth his plans were until it was revealed later.  Something would happen, and I would think it was by accident  or unplanned but later you'd see how Sage engineered it.  I loved that because it kept me completely on my toes and paying attention.  That was great for me, but it will be fantastic for readers who need that in order to stick with a book.  Because of this I was in awe of Jennifer Nielsen's writing many times.  

As for the other characters in the book such as Tobias and Roden the other two boys - I liked them.  They were well rounded full characters not props for letting Sage be the star.  They had their own back stories and conflicts that fully added to the plot and action.  One of my favorite characters was the young servant girl Imogen.  In a book fully of boys she was a very strong female presence!  Keep an eye on her!  But you know what the other girl character - the princess - she was strong too! Hey I like that.  Strong boy characters and strong girl ones!  Well done! The many other minor characters from the boys' dressing servants to Conner's men were all great and added to the story well.  Speaking of Conner the man behind the plan - really really really didn't like him.  Kinda hated who he was! Now you are suppose to feel this way so that was good.  Ug - he was just so awful!

I can't comment too much more on the plot because I fear giving anything away, but I will say be prepared for lots and lots of twists and turns.  You may think you know something but don't be surprised if you're completely wrong!

Final thought:  There are a lot of great reviews on this book - believe them!!
Best stick-with-you image: Sage in the dungeon
Best for readers who: Love books that keep them on their toes
Best for ages: 9-14

For the Guys?  YES!!! This is the first book in a long time I really full heartily see as a great boys' book! Sage would be wonderful for boys to follow! The story is strong.  I will be suggesting it to all my boy readers!

One note: Many people tend to think this book is fantasy (me among them) but it's not at all!  I've had to clarify that with many people.  


  1. I really enjoyed this book and so did my 12-year-old daughter! The story moved along well and I just had to finish it to see what was going to happen. I'm looking forward to the next book.

  2. I absolutely loved this book as well. :) Glad both you and your daughter enjoyed it!

  3. I've seen/heard this book talked about in a few other places. Although I DO wish it was fantasy (sniff) I may have to pick it up anyway. Thanks for the review.

  4. There is a lot of buzz about this book. I haven't read it yet, but I'm definitely going to pick it up. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. I liked it too! I'm definitely going to read the sequel.


  6. I can't wait to read this one! I think you're the first person who has mentioned it's not fantasy.

  7. I too loved the book and can't wait for the sequel. Definitely would recommend for boys who like fast-paced, plot-driven adventure. But I'd also recommend it to girls.

    To me, it has an historical fiction feel to it and it's not fantasy in the strict sense like LOTR, but I think I'd still call it a fantasy or maybe a fairy tale.... (I just saw it described as such on Goodreads.)