By Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published by Scholastic
"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."-Goodreads
Where to begin. How about with a high contender for the best-male-lead-character-ever? Sage is his name. (On a side note, how rockin' is that name? I adore it! Spoiler- highlight to read: Imagine how distraught I was to find out he will be no longer "Sage". I almost cried - Jaron just doesn't do it for me.) *Sighs wistfully* Sage, Sage, Sage. He is everything that makes a near perfect male voice for this type of story. He's witty, smug, has a quick-tongue, is steps ahead of everyone else, quick on his feet, knows how to look out for himself, can take pain and yet, is a very sweet boy. In his own right. His voice and attitude makes The False Prince so enjoyable. The dialogue and witty banter, his quick and smart comebacks are sure to have you grinning. The way he is able to predict things and take charge is very admirable. We soon uncover some vulnerability in him but he still manages to keep that swagger. Sage is someone who will have you wrapped around his finger but that's ok, he just has a way of doing that.
I should mention the other characters. I really liked their development because I did get to know them well. It irked me -in a good way- that I thought I would have someone figured out and then it turns out I'm wrong. Conner is a very complex character, as well as Tobias and Roden. I loved Imogen's story too -she's a servant girl that Sage befriends.
The plot and pace was amazing too. This is an example of a book that has been laid out before hand. The author made it so that she dropped hints throughout the book in order to build up to a dramatic conclusion. It was like a giant jigsaw puzzle that simply snapped into place. I loved how all the details matched together. Although I did predict somewhat was was going to happen, the finer details were a mystery to me - and a delight to read about! The False Prince is a smooth book, the events lead into each other and are connected well. The only thing that bothered me was at two points in the book: the POV changed to third person. I do understand why but it was a bit disorienting. Anyways, the writing was clear and easy to picture - hopefully we will get to see some more world building though in the the next book!
I'd highly recommend this book to adventure, fantasy, historical-ish, edge of your seat lovers who like good political intrigue. Although the idea isn't the most original it is extremely well done! Definitely one of my favourites of the year!
Conner walked back to me. "A thief and a liar, eh? Can you manage a sword?"
"Sure, if my opponent doesn't have one."
He grinned. "Do you farm?"
"No." I took that as an insult.
"Can you read?"
I stared up at him through the parts of my hair. "What are you wanting me for, Conner?"
"You'll address me as Sir or Master Conner."
"What are you wanting me for, Sir Master Conner?"
"That's a conversation for another time."
Book Trailer: spoiler free - its safe to watch :)