Review: "The False Prince" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Truth be told we all have those books we bought years ago but got too distracted to read for any particular reason. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen was one of the many books I had pushed to the "reserve till later" shelf due to all manner of distractions. Now finally having read this book, I'm so very glad this was the title I chose from my reserve shelf for my winter to spring reading list because it was an exciting ride I did not expect to see. I have plenty to say about this wonderful little book but as always I will begin with a summary. I will do my best to keep this review spoiler free but once more I make no promises. Read at your own risk:

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.

The best way to tackle my reaction to this book is to begin with what I absolutely adored so I will begin with what definitely first made my list: the main character. Sage is a hot-headed, irreverent young man who is full of charisma. He's a protagonist that is easy to love and a brave, adaptable soul the reader will want to root for. The next item on the list would be the plot of this story. This story has a surprise twist that a reader will suspect, but I still found myself surprised by Nielson's creativity (I won't say more because the read is worth it). There are about as many fantasy tropes as one could expect from a young adult fantasy fiction, but done with style which makes this a fantastic choice for anyone who is new to the fantasy genre.

The next item on the list is yet another note on Nielson's creativity, mainly because she does so much in a shorter novel. Nielson's story is exciting and full of charming, wide-eyed wonder. This book may not be the favorite of the most avid fantasy reader, but it is an entertaining quick read that will want you to keep the pages turning. This book, in my opinion, is really how introductory fantasy for younger readers (the bar stopping at run of the mill ages for young adult fiction) should be structured. There is much to take away from this story whether that is simple enjoyment, a thrilling adventure or to follow along with an extremely relatable hero. Nielson delivers a story that is a treat to read and I honestly cannot wait to read more!

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