Thursday, September 27, 2012

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

Goodreads rating: 4.27
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Scholastic
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Source: Bought

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.

This book starts off with a bang and never lets up. Our main character, Sage, is an orphan and a pickpocket. But when he gets back to the orphanage with a stolen roast, he's met with a man named Connor. A man who's bought Sage for a very specific and dangerous reason. So Sage has no choice but to get into the carriage with three other boys and with no idea where he's being taken. But there's a reason all four boys look similar: Connor is going to make one of them a false prince. We're not meant to like Connor from the beginning, but you can't help understanding his superficial cause. It's actually pretty smart: finding orphans that look like a prince thought by everyone to be dead, because they have no family to recognize them. But it also means they have nothing to lose and no one that Connor can threaten them with should they defy him in any way and try to escape. I loved Sage! Sage is amazingly fierce and woefully stubborn. He gets himself into a lot of trouble, but he's also very clever and careful when he tries to be. This story couldn't have been told from any other point of view, and I loved every minute of his commentary.

There really isn't much of a romance in this book. There's a mute servant that Sage begins to care for, and then there is the princess that Jaron will marry when he turns up "alive". Sage is obviously much more like the servant because he's an orphan, but he's also getting used to being a royal. I wish I remembered their names, but I'm having memory issues right now. But the servant girl has a secret that brings the two of them closer together. She takes care of him when he gets hurt, and he gives her too much attention for other people not to take notice. But the princess is mourning for the only prince that's supposed to be left, but is actually dead now (not Jaron, the older brother). You can't help but feel sorry for her, because she actually loved the older brother, and now there are rumors of Jaron being back, and she doesn't want to marry someone she doesn't love. I'll be really interested to see where the romance goes in the second book. And I'm hoping there's a little more of it too, although this story stood very well on its own.

Mott was my absolute favorite character besides Sage. He always believed in Sage, and followed some of the harsher orders from Connor grudgingly. He tried to help Sage more than he did the others. Even though Sage was only an orphan and there were other boys trying to beat him out of the crown, Mott treated him like he was already king. The other boys, Tobias and Roden, were pretty much polar opposites. Tobias was the smartest of all of them, and while he tried to be menacing, all he did was talk himself up and then never deliver. Except once, much to Sage's dismay. Roden was the strongest and most sword-savvy. He couldn't really read, but he was actually the boy that progressed the most between the three of them. Sage was somewhere in between, and although he always told Connor he was his prince, he had an interesting way of showing it. But Sage has a big secret... And you'll have to read this amazing book to find out what it is! Seriously, pick up this book. I absolutely loved the story!

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