The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)
by Jennifer Nielsen
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Scholastic
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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.
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