Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
arc paperback, 342 pages
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: From Publisher
Summary (From Goodreads):
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.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen is the first book in the middle grade fantasy, The Ascendance Trilogy. The story focuses on Sage. He's a resourceful orphan who is usually up to no good. He catches the eye of Conner, a nobleman, who has taken three boys off the street to try and make them into a 'false prince'. However only one boy will be chosen and the other two will be executed.
Sage is a great character. He's clever, quick on his feet, and has a good heart. Along with the two other boys, Tobias and Roden, he does his best to be chosen as the long lost prince, Jaron. The boys' relationship is a precarious one at best. They are all in the same boat. This fact alone bonds them to each other and a friendship of sorts develops. Nevertheless they all want to be the chosen one. They are fighting to stay alive and using what ever skills they have to win which means they have to be aggressive and put whatever friendships they have aside. However Sage is astute. He realizes that things are not what they seem.
This is a great book for middle grade and above. Nielsen writes an intriguing story with lots of twists and turns. I had a hard time distinguishing the good guys from the bad. She doesn't give much away and it left me glued to the pages to find out how it was going to end. I can't say anything bad about this book. This is a fantastic read that I would recommend. I can't wait to read the second book in the trilogy.
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Other books by this author:
Elliot and the Goblin War
Elliot and the Pixie Plot
Elliot and the Last Underworld War