Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review: The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)
by Jennifer Nielsen
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Scholastic
Buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

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.


Review:

I gave this book a standing ovation as soon as I finished reading it. It was that gooooood! Ever since I read Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, I've developed a soft spot for books with a historical setting and a sneaky thief for a protagonist - a genius sneaky thief.

In The False Prince, our protagonist, Sage, is an orphan who is seen as a disrespectful petulant kid with a brash attitude and a sharp mind. Although stealing is almost second nature to him, and most of the time uses this skill for his own amusement, sometimes he also uses this to help bring food to the orphanage. But don't get the wrong ideas. Sage is not necessarily the type of character with an aggressive front but with a very kind heart. It's one of the reasons why I love him so much.

Along with three other orphans, Sage was bought by a man called Conner. At first, it was a mystery as to why a noble man would buy orphans who seemed to have the same features as each other. But as the story progressed, the secrets started to be unveiled one by one. I wasn't totally surprised by these secrets, to be honest, though I can say that these weren't totally predictable either. What I found the most surprising was the twist - the very-most-ultimate-secret twist - that came after those secrets. It was one of those rare "WTH moments" where you are WTH-ing because it was sooo awesome. But I admit that at first I was WTH-ing because it was confusing and I felt so lost, but after a couple more pages and more revelations were unfolded, - when the things that didn't make sense started to make sense and when those events I took for granted proved to be of great importance to the plot - I was left exhausted by all the cleverness in this book.

The characters, minor and major alike, are all very complex and well-rounded. Those characters you liked at first, you'd hate them toward the end. Those you trusted at first, you'd end up wanting to kill the traitors out of them. This book has a knack in fooling its readers into believing ideas that pertain to the mystery of the plot. I mean, just look at the title. It gives us an idea what this book is about, but don't be fooled. There's more to it than just a spoilery title. The fact that this is told from Sage's point of view makes it difficult for the readers to decide who or what to believe since we only see things from his perception, but do we? If we see what Sage sees, does that mean he's not capable of lying to the readers? Needless to say, The False Prince is truly a cleverly written book with a solid plot that's perfectly executed. If you loved Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, you have to read The False Prince. And if you loved Eugenides's character, you will love Sage too.

Rating: 5/5 stars

24 comments:

  1. You know how much I loved The Thief so I definitely plan on reading this one. I got a copy when it came out but just haven't read it yet. I'm pretty sure I'll end up rating it really highly too from the way you described it. Sage sounds awesome!

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    1. I hope you read Queen's Thief years before you read this, Z.

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  2. I haven't read The Thief or The False Prince but you're making me want to change that! Seriously, great review. This book sounds so awesome. I love WTH twists. That moment of pure shock as everything changes is one of the best things about reading. This book sounds like a smart read and I'll definitely be on the lookout for it. :)

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    1. If you decide to read both, I suggest you start on TFP before TF.

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  3. Historical settings are some of my favourite too! And I can totally understand your WTH-moment when all the answers are unveiled, it's simply unimaginable and astounding!! Going to have to check this series in my bookstore, what can be better than a genius thief? ;)

    Alicia
    Book a World

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    1. I used to not like historical settings but ever since Queen's Thief, I became all about historical settings lol. I hope you give this a chance, Alicia.

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  4. Glad you liked this one! I hope the next book is as good.

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  5. I've heard a lot of amazing things about this book. Must pick it up soon. Great review!

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  6. "What I found the most surprising was the twist - the very-most-ultimate-secret twist - that came after those secrets."

    Oooooo now I really, really want to read this! I love when a book is going along and things are slightly predictable but not so much so as to be irritating and then BAM! out of nowhere comes the greatest twist ever. So excited to give this book a try Chel, any book that rates a 5/5 is one I need to read:)

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    1. Jenny! You always read and review so very fast. I hope you give this a chance. :)

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  7. I haven't read many reviews for this, but I love how well crafted the characters sound. And that cover is gorgeous too. This definitely sounds like my type of book! Brilliant review, Chel. :)

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    1. Thank you, I don't see this reviewed that often on blogs, but the few of them I read were all rave reviews, Sam.

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  8. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed this one, Chel! I wasn't a big fan of it, simply because I kept comparing it to The Queen's Thief Series and I felt as if it lacked something, but I'm so glad you liked this! Yet another absolutely fantastic review! :D

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    1. True. I immediately read QoA and KoA after this and suddenly TFP paled in comparison with them. But I'm glad I still got to enjoy this. ;)

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  9. I'm pretty sure I've heard of The False Prince and it sounds fantastic! I love reading fantasy books and I definitely need to read this one too ;) I haven't heard of The Queen's Thief series so I might need to give it a go too!

    Awesome review, Chel! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Celine, if you're planning to read The False Prince and The Thief, I suggest you read The False Prince first.

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  10. Holy cow dear!
    This book seems to have so many freaking twist! The ultimate secret one really intrigues me! plus loving characters than then you'll hate, and vice versa holy lord! I HAVE to read this! I heard great things about this book but somehow never gotmy hands on it. (Im so gonna change that!)

    Have you read The Rager's Apprentice? I want to read it since there are so many praises for that series and the author. =P

    marvelous review sweetheart! like always! ^.^

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    1. Hey, Natalia. Thanks. Yep, this book does have so many intriguing secrets. And YES, you need to read it!

      I've heard of Ranger's Apprentice before but never read the reviews. I think I'll have to look into it. ;)

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  11. Thanks so much for the awesome review, Chel! I've seen this one around the blogosphere a lot, but this is the first time I've actually took the time to read a review. I can't believe how good it sounds...Sage particularly sounds like a really interesting main character. I'm adding this to my wish list right now. :)

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  12. I loved this book too - really good, can't wait for more. Now I need to check out the book you mentioned, The Thief, as I haven't read it.

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

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  13. Wow, standing ovations means this is definitely a book I need to check out! I love historical fiction because of the settings. TBR'ing right away!

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  14. Ah okay, I had to check out your review for this one because I just purchased this book and I'm looking forward to reading it (just need to fit it in... somewhere). I can't tell you how excited it makes me to read your gushing review! It really does sound like an exceedingly smart book. And I just know I am going to LOVE Sage! I have also heard it compared to The Thief series before (another one that I NEED to read!).

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    1. Yaaay! I will be waiting for your review, Aylee. :)

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  15. This sounds amazing! A standing O?! I'll have to find this one for sure.

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