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Review: The False Prince

March 27, 2012

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Hardcover, 342 pages
Release: April 1st, 2012
Jennifer A. Nielsen’s website
Buy the book

I’ve never gotten an ARC or won a book early through a drawing. So when I won the auction for The False Prince at Writing for Charity, I was pretty excited. I had never heard of this book or the author before the conference. But you can bet I’m going to be keeping an eye on Jennifer Nielsen from now on!

Not only was her presentation at Writing for Charity the best I’ve been to this year, she is a charming person. She personalized the book for me when I won and managed to speak with me a bit, which is impressive as I was so nervous my legs were shaking beneath me. I always get nervous talking to people that I admire, even if that admiration just started.

To the book!

The False Prince is fantasy but without any magic or creatures (so far … it is part of a trilogy). But it is a world of castles and kings, sword fighting and pirates, orphans and thieves. Sage is an orphan snatched up by a scheming nobleman who plans to turn Sage into a false prince, a puppet prince he can control. However, Sage will have to compete against three other boys for the role. And when the prince is chosen, the others won’t be needed anymore …

It is a game of wits and, while I wasn’t exactly surprised by the ending, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Sage is a complex character that will frustrate you as you frantically turn pages to make sure he is going to make it through. Characterization is the star of this story. Each boy is trying so hard to prove he can be someone else, that he can live a lie. But what their actions really show is what they would be willing to do to be seen as “special” and what being special means to each of them.

So for those of you who write, pick this up and see if you can keep up with Sage. He is a wonderful scoundrel, up there with the best in that category. I can’t say much else without giving away the ending so go ahead and read it on April 1st. Happy reading!

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