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The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince

by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Ascendance Trilogy (1)

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1,083957,692 (4.16)46

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This book is about an orphan named Sage, who is brought to the brink of treason. A man named Bevin Conner, adopts 3 orphans, and makes them into a false prince. I liked this book because when I read the back, I was immediately hooked. I also wanted what treason meant ( I didn't want to look it up in the dictionary). ( )
  eli.P. | Apr 19, 2016 |
Huge hit with the entire family of adults and preteen boy and girl. ( )
  FrancineZane | Apr 3, 2016 |
Fast paced and well plotted, The False Prince is a real charmer. ( )
  CarmenFerreiro | Mar 28, 2016 |
The False Prince is a young adult or possibly middle grade fantasy novel that reminds me strongly of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. Sage is living in an orphanage when he’s taken along with three other boys by a nobleman named Connor. The royal family is dead and civil war is brewing, but Connor has a plan – find an impostor to play the role of the missing prince Jaron. Sage knows that if he isn’t chosen, Connor will have him killed.

The False Prince was all right but not particularly great. Large parts of the book felt bare boned. For instance, take the world building. There’s little to no effort to build up a sense of place. The setting is entirely lacking in culture or history and felt simplistic. Character development felt similarly simplistic. The only character with a chance at depth was the lead, and I never grew attached to him.

The plot of the book largely lies on a reveal that comes near the end. Unfortunately, I guessed the reveal ahead of time. I don’t think the reveal is significantly hard to guess if you’re familiar with the genre.

While I was reading The False Prince, I was continually reminded by Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief. The plots of the two books are different, but there’s certain similarities in feel, perhaps due to both books having unreliable and cocky young thieves as their main characters. Overall, I’d say that Turner’s book is the better of the two due to superior prose. Despite this, if you were a fan of The Thief, you may want to look into The False Prince.

The False Prince was not an amazing novel. I found it mediocre, but it was still a fairly pleasant way to pass some time.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Mar 16, 2016 |
I love this book so much. I checked it out from the library a few months ago, read it, re-read all my favorite scenes as soon as I reached the last page, re-read the entire book, then had to return it. Flash forward to the present and my one-month-old copy has been read at least twice, and I still love it to pieces. It's just that good.

Sage is an orphan off the streets who gets bought by a man named Conner, who has a scheme to take the throne. Sage and two other boys are in a contest to be chosen as an impersonator of a dead prince, and they all know the two losers will wind up dead. Sage is headstrong, stubborn, never cautious, and extremely pigheaded, but we soon learn that everything he does has a carefully calculated purpose in this game of wits.
It is cleverly paced, has a wonderful plot twist (even though I predicted it from the first time I read the book description - she twists and turns your thoughts until you're still surprised at the end, even if you saw it coming), and the characters are never completely as they seem at first. Every single character I can think of but one has at least some kind of secret or hidden agenda. I love it.

EDIT January 2014:
Here's the review I wrote for my blog, Read Till Dawn.

So the author has a giveaway going right now on her website, which is what finally got me to actually post a review. I kept thinking I wanted to get one up for The False Prince, but I'm a rather lazy person. If anyone's interested, Ms. Nielsen's giving away signed copies of False Prince, its sequal The Runaway King, AND an ARC of The Shadow Throne, the third and final book in the trilogy which comes out next month. That is at http://www.jennielsen.com/archives/1100. The giveaway ends January 25th, so go check it out now!

Now, the review itself. I've actually written two reviews before for False Prince, one on Goodreads and one on a message board I frequent. The Goodreads one is incredibly short and mainly consists of "Eeeh! I love it! I just reread it AGAIN!!" The message board one is really long and sounds incredibly unenthusiastic, which was my attempt at being evenhanded about a book I well and truly adore. So here's a third go at it, and maybe it will land somewhere in the middle.

"If I had to do it all over again, I would not have chosen this life. Then again, I'm not sure I ever had a choice." Thus goes the first line of the entire book, a line that goes deeper than the just started reader could ever guess.

But wait. First, just have a look at the cover picture. Isn't it gorgeous? Even if the book was just horrible, wouldn't you still just love to gaze at that book? I know I would, and I do with my copy all the time. And then you get Runaway King, which is a beautiful emerald green, and - sorry, off topic. Back to Sage.

Oh, wait, I haven't even introduced Sage yet. Well, Sage is the machinery that makes the whole story (actually, the whole series) tick. He's the delightfully unreliable narrator, the eyes through which we get a clear picture of everything - except for the most important thing of all.
And so what is the story? Street rat Sage is plucked off the streets, forced to the estate of rich nobleman Conner along with two (well, three, but only two of them are important) other orphans. There, Conner forces them into a deadly competition. They must learn in just two weeks everything they need to impersonate a prince who's been dead for years, because the royal family is dead and Conner's ready to put forward a replacement ruler.

There's just one eensy, weensy teeny little problem. Sage is stubborn. Like a mule. And he has this thing where he goes out of his way to disobey. Not to mention the fact that he always winds up covered in mud. So how can he make it out of this alive, if he refuses to cooperate? For there can only be one prince, and all three boys know only too well what will happen to those who don't get chosen.

So, the characters. I adore Sage, my friend adores Sage, all the random people on Twitter adore Sage - I haven't met a person yet, no matter how they feel about the rest of the book, who could resist going "Sage is so clever and witty and stubborn! I LOVE him!!" (No joke, that's what they say. I may be paraphrasing a bit, though.) Sage is absolutely one of my favorite characters, possibly all time. He's like Gen from the Queen's Thief series, but less dark and brooding all the time. Which frankly, I like better.

And the other characters? Because, of course, more than one character makes or breaks a book. The other orphans, Roden and Tobias, both have very unique personalities. The kind where you think you've got them sized up the first time you meet them, and then later you realize that there's way more going on in their head, and not all of it nice/mean. Conner, well, he truly put my teeth on edge. You could see he was human, through his flaws, his temper, his fear. But he was also a bully, a man who would do anything he had to in order to get what he wanted. Anything at all. And the depth of that willingness struck deep, because you knew he had all three of the orphans in his absolute control.
And I could go on through every single person who appeared in the book (because from the amount of times I've read it, yes, I've just about got them all memorized), but this review is getting a tad long and I read somewhere you don't want to bore your readers with extraneous length. I'll just say that everyone had a purpose, and frankly I probably shouldn't talk about them anymore because it would be really hard without spoilers (Imogen comes to mind - keep an eye out for her!)

So in summary? One time I saw someone compare it to a mix of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Um, I don't see the connection. There's no magic, no boarding school, no evil government - and I could go on. But what this IS is a great read, with enough violence that I wouldn't give it to anyone under ten (though I know many people who would), and the suspense to keep anyone reading. Bottom line? I love this book to bits, I've read it more times than I can ever count. Read it, cherish it, and pass it on to anyone you know.

Again, this review is on my blog: Read Till Dawn. ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jennifer A. Nielsenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McWade, CharlieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Mom,

Every great thing I ever learned from

you was taught by example.
First words
If I had to do it all over again, I would not have chosen this life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
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In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king's long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.

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