by Jennifer A Nielsen
Plot Summary: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:It's easy to fall in love with a story when the main character is so deliciously complex and frustrating but admirable and I'm glad to say this book has that character. Sage is often thought the best choice to impersonate the long lost prince because he's street-smart and able to think quickly and lie convincingly. But he's also unpredictable and uncontrollable, and while he struggles to find a way to both defy Conner and also get chosen as the false prince, the reader sees more and more layers to his character gradually unfold. When he seems most callous is when you find he has compassion and it's interesting that while so many deceptions are planned in this story, the reader is also getting duped because Sage keeps so many secrets himself. He's just as unpredictable to the reader and I thought the journey we took to get to know him was alone completely worth reading this book.
But there's much to this story with the fantasy world building. The politics of Carthya and the competition between the other potential princes made this an even more engaging read. It was interesting to read how Sage's rivals developed - Roden and Tobias changed so much throughout this story that again I was impressed by the author's ability to reveal so many facets of character. Even with Conner - the nobleman who insists he is trying to help his country by deceiving it - was a rather likable villain to me, and often it was difficult to decide if he was really a villain or just a man without scruples but devoted to his country.
There is a potential love triangle that is sweet, but had a lot of room to grow, as it doesn't get much of a focus in this book and I didn't feel particularly taken with that aspect of the story. I think there is a clear choice of who Sage should end up with, but I'm glad that both female potentials are strong characters in their own way, which should make things very interesting in the next couple books.
The story has lots of twists and turns, and a particularly big plot twist towards the end which was amazing! Add to that an emotionally satisfying first book, with a great characters and a believable and fun main character and I really can't wait to read the next in the series! I wish I had read this book sooner!