The False Prince
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Hardcover: 342 pages
Released: April 1, 2012
Source: Checked out from my local library.
Book Description from Back Cover:
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 is a middle grade or young adult fantasy novel. It's aimed at boys, though I think girls and adults would also like it. It's the first book in a trilogy, but it stands on it's own and doesn't end on a cliff-hanger.
I liked that the teen hero cared about and tried to help other people even when forced into a situation where a person normally wouldn't. The main characters were generally good people even though they didn't always act like it because of the difficult situation they were in. The characters were complex and had some depth, and I cared what happened to them.
While the twists won't be a huge surprise to anyone who has read a lot of traditional fantasy, they weren't obvious and there was even one I didn't expect. The suspense was created by the physical danger to the characters, but the conflict was mainly due to (non-romantic) relationship tensions.
There was a minor amount of "he cursed" style of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and engaging fantasy novel. It's now a favorite of mine, though this might partly be because it's been so long since I last read a good-values, traditional fantasy novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.