Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)

April 18, 2012 Review 1 ★★★

Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)Release Date: April 1, 2012
Title: The False Prince
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Pages: 352
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Publisher Provided
Available: Barnes and Noble
From the Publisher: 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.
3 Stars

Trying to figure out what to rate this book has been frustrating beyond anything I’ve felt all day. The book is good. It really is. I can’t wait to read the next one.


Yes, there’s a but.

There was a very significant plot twist near the end, but it would have been much more effective had I not figured it out far sooner than I was supposed to. I was actually disappointed when I figured it out, because it meant the rest of the book would not be as wonderful as it should have been.

On the other hand, this is a middle grade book, so perhaps I am being too harsh.

There were, however, other things that bothered me as well. The book is written from Sage’s perspective- yet something the audience should have witnessed from his perspective was hidden until poorly revealed later in the book. I actually had to read that section twice to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding. And when I did understand, it simply didn’t make sense for the reader to be discovering it at that juncture in the story. I understand why she wrote it that way- but it was very poorly executed and simply didn’t fit into the linear flow of the story.

Writing nitpicks aside, it was a wonderful story that captured and kept my attention. Sage’s character is just the right blend of snark and vulnerability. I had no trouble at all siding with him from the very beginning.

I will definitely be looking for the second book of the trilogy when it is published.

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