Title: The False Prince
Sequel? The first book in The Ascendance Trilogy, sequel yet-to-be-titled
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Genres: (kind of) historical fiction*
Age Level: YA (12-18) (Though this is leaning more towards 12-14)
Page Count: 342
Summary: Sage is a fourteen year old orphan and thief. He has nothing, no one. He lives on a week-by-week basis, trying to survive. Then nobleman Conner comes for him. He pays the woman in charge of the orphanage, and takes Sage away with him, along with three other boys - all fourteen, all nobodies. But it's not to work as servants, as Sage expects.
All members of the royal family are dead. The king, queen, and crown prince Darius had been poisoned, though the general public doesn't know it yet. However, Prince Jaron, the second prince, was supposedly killed by pirates four years ago, though a body was never found. Conner's plan is to decide over the course of two weeks which boy can act for the rest of his life. Which orphan can become a prince.
Review: I liked this book more than I thought I would, truth be told. I got this from one of those Scholastic book fairs at my school for $6, and in the past I haven't really liked the books I've gotten at them. But this one was really good.
I think the thing that first caught me was Sage's character. He is very sarcastic, very sharp-witted and clever-tongued, and I love that type of character. He was never afraid to say what he wanted, even when it landed him in a dungeon or near death. His character was very complex as well. He had a hard life, but also had many different talents and an interesting back story. I loved his strength, his resolve to do what he believed was right, and nothing could break him. I also liked that, upon accidentally killing a man, he freaked out. I hate it when characters (especially guys) kill something and keep moving on as if it's nothing. Hello, you just KILLED someone! Sage has humanity, and that was another thing I liked about him.
I also liked that it was told from his perspective. I feel as if books with male main characters, especially when told from their perspective, are a whole lot fresher than female protagonists. (I used an ELA vocab word. My teacher would be proud :D) I've only read one other book from a male's perspective (that I can think of off the top of my head, at least), so maybe that's not the best generalization, but I still think that it's true. Maybe it's because I'm a girl, but I feel as if reading from guys' perspectives are always better.
The thing that I found weird about this book was that, even though it was told from Sage's perspective, there were chapters when it would switch into third person. That caused for a little bit of confusion, but in general, it was surprisingly easy to follow what was happening.
I have to tell you another thing I loved about this book: POLITICAL INTRIGUE!!!! That is my FAVORITE thing to read about. Next to hot guys, sword fights, and love triangles. The more layers of lies and deceit a book has, the more I love it, because it's fun for me as the reader to uncover those layers and try to figure out exactly what's happening. Nothing was really as it seemed, and I loved it.
This is the first in a trilogy, and I'm excitedly waiting for the next one! Unfortunately, The False Prince was just published this year, so I guess I'll have to wait. Sigh....