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The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  30,013 ratings  ·  4,556 reviews
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
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published April 1st 2012 by Scholastic (first published January 1st 2012)
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Ingrid Morris Well... in that it is set in a medieval type world and has some castle intrigue, but, no magic. No dragons. GofT has so many POV's and story lines.…moreWell... in that it is set in a medieval type world and has some castle intrigue, but, no magic. No dragons. GofT has so many POV's and story lines. This really is told from one.(less)

Community Reviews

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Small Review
The False Prince is *THAT* book! I stayed up way too late in order to finish it...and I'm seriously considering throwing all notion of a sleep schedule out the window and rereading the whole book right now.

Originally posted at Small Review

I call dibs on Sage
(seriously ladies—don't underestimate me 'cause I'm small. I'll fight dirty.)

I knew this was going to be a Special Shelf book as soon as I "heard" Sage's voice narrating. Really, the story could have been downright awful (it isn't) and I st
This book makes me want to put on my blandest Mr. Darcy voice and declare it “tolerable…but not handsome enough to tempt me.” This book is fine. I think many of you will notice its exercise-brightened eyes and charming irreverence and fall for it. But for me, it was just okay.

If you’ve read any amount of young adult fantasy, you probably know where this book is heading just from reading the synopsis – or hell, even the title! I had a lot of hope that this book would go in an unexpected directio
Experiment BL626
CAUTION: Long Review, Slight Spoilers

Feeble Latamer. Boastful Roden. Bookish Tobias. Defiant Sage. Four boys. One throne. Who will become America's Next Top Model Carthya's Next Reigning King? In ANTM the reality TV show, the contestants choose to participate and if they lose then they are sent home. In The False Prince, the contestants are coerced to participate and if they lose then they are sentenced to death. At the end, there will be only one one winner, one survivor.

The False Prince is tol
Zabet  Reading Between Classes

This review can also be found on Reading Between Classes

Cover Impressions: The cover doesn't stand out as much as I would like. It is simple and clean and I do like the gold crown and lettering on a blue background.

The Gist: As an orphan running the streets of Carchar, Sage has learned to depend on his quick wits and quicker mouth to survive. When he finds himself one of four boys bought by a wealthy nobleman with a dastardly plan to gain control of the throne, Sage must use every trick at his
There is no way you can read The False Prince, and not have the inevitable comparisons to Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief crop up. Both are stories of young men, obscure nobodies charged with a greater purpose, subject to distrust and contempt and ridicule, involved in complicated matters far above their station. However, The Thief is, without doubt, the better man, so to speak. Unlike Gen, Sage, the protagonist of this story, is neither subtle, nor particularly clever. And neither is the story ...more
Shut the front door that ending was fantastic.....I did not see any of that coming. The last 1/4 of that book was just simply unreal. I also was impressed how the author was able to stuff so much material into a relatively short novel. (Mind you it is part one of a trilogy) I simply cannot say enough about this book. I loved the characters, the plot was fantastic and the twists and turns at the end just blew my mind. Well done! One of the best books I've read in awhile!
Rating: 2.5 Stars

In all honesty, The False Prince contains nothing within it to warranty such a low rating – its writing is easy to read, its pace is swift, and the plot is a page-turner. In fact, to many readers, The False Prince will no doubt be a breath of fresh air – something new, unique, and original in the genre of fantasy. However, to me (and I’m sure numerous other older readers), The False Prince is nothing but a disappointing rip-off of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief
Lindsey Rey
This book was such a treat to read and I am so glad I started 2015 with it! I really enjoyed the characters and I just had a lot of fun while reading it. Although this book is located in the YA section in Barnes & Noble, I definitely think it has a middle grade feel to it. I think some readers will have problems with the lack of world building and the novel being rather predictable, but I was enjoying myself so much while reading it that these things didn't matter to me. Great characters, gr ...more
Warning: This is a middle-grade reader
Not that there's anything wrong with that...

I'm mentioning the MGR thing, because I don't want someone to look at my four star review, and think this is a four star review for an adult book. Or even a young adult book.
See, I actually didn't realize I was picking up a middle grade reader, because it was classified as fantasy in my digital library. Still, no harm done, since I'm always on the lookout for something the kids might like.

I gotta say, I was pretty
All right! It is almost midnight and this is when I write my finest reviews (oh stop laughing) so I shall write the galumptious (how can galumptious not be a word? I feel affronted) (well, it is a word now) (hmph) review that The False Prince deserves because let me tell you this, the book is pretty freaking fantastic. Okay, before I go forth with this review, let me tell you that it is Finals time and I am rather batty (battier?) during these times so the following review maybe be interspersed ...more
This book...I loved this book. I can't even find words right now, so my speechlessness will have to suffice for my "review".
I really, really need book 2 now. As in now.

Okay, I've gotten some sleep and am ready to write something describing this masterpiece. -ahem- (please excuse any misspelling of names. I listened to the audiobook)

The royal family of Carthya has been murdered, this includes King Eckbert, Queen Erin and the crowned prince Darius. The throne is now up for grabs and so a n
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

First Line: “If I had to do it all over again, I would not have chosen this life. Then again, I’m not sure I ever had a choice.”

Cover Story: Lessons in Perspective

Meh. The crown features in the story, but this is still a pretty boring and abstract cover, and the color shading on the crown messes with my depth perception. It doesn’t look quite right. Is it floating? Is it resting on something? Where is the light coming from?

Style & Substance:

There are some books that a
Duchess Nicole
Slow going but Ah!! The plot twist!!! This one is most definitely written for young adults. I didn't do a lot of research on it, just saw it available from my library's digital site and wanted a fantasy story.I think expectations played a lot into my lack of enthusiasm for this. I'm not sure why this is labeled fantasy other than it's not written with real places in mind. It's more medieval fiction, in my humble opinion. There is nothing really fantastical about magic, no strange creatur ...more
Notes Jotted Down While Reading This Book:

Note #1: “Really fantastic first page. Authors take note.”

Note #2: “I’m only four pages in and already I like what I see.”

Let it be known that as a children’s librarian I read a lot of malarkey meant for the kiddos. On the down side it makes me a jaded reader. On the upside it has given me the gift of a 10-year-old’s impatience. If I’m struggling to read a particularly dull section in the first chapter then I can usually bet dollars to donuts that a

4.5 stars

The False Prince may not be the most revolutionary fantasy concept however what it does is execute its premise to perfection. Where the tendency for YA novels has been to patronise the reader Jennifer Nielsen's novel is instead a remarkably mature work of fiction that does not resort to comforting or helping the reader along. There is relatively little 'infodumping' and what 'infodumping' exists is brought about through the plot. All of which leads to a remarkable beginning for a series
Sherwood Smith
Jun 01, 2012 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fantasy
I would have loved this fast-paced book at age thirteen: it hits all those adolescent id kinks right on target, in particular the "I'm secretly special" one. The thirteen year old still inside me kept reading far too late last night until I finished.

Things the adult me appreciated: the emotional spectrum of Sage, the first person narrator, specifically the PTSD. I loved the family traits as we learned more about Sage's background. Though most of the characters are male at the beginning, this is
There is little I can say about Nielsen's work that sounds original enough to provide any meaning for you. It was exciting, fun, suspenseful, and playful...well, what can I say? It was a delight to read, and I loved it.

Nielsen always seems to know the right word, the right way to twist the plot, the right everything. There's just an undertone of witty purposefulness permeating every corner of the story. And she's impressively aware of her audience, too--perhaps that's why every plot point and ch
The False Prince is an okay young adult book. It's surprisingly complex and intriguing characters prop up an otherwise straightforward plot with practically non-existent world building.

Sage is a tough orphan with a quick wit and a sharp tongue. He is taken from the relative safety of his orphanage to compete with other boys in a brutal contest organised by a ruthless nobleman. The plot is fairly straightforward and the late plot-twist is easily predicted.(especially due to the awkward evasion o
I read The False Prince expecting to REALLY ENJOY IT, and was surprised when I kind of didn’t.

So I put it aside! Because sometimes I like books more when I’ve had a few days to recover from any minor but incredibly irritating bits of plot that might be grating on me.

And now I have returned! Returned to write the review! And after much deliberation, I’ve come to the conclusion that… I was definitely correct in my original assessment. I did not particularly love this book.


Everyone else
- It was a nice change to read from a male perspective. Most of the books I read are from a female point of view. I think it is because I read more female author's books. Sometimes a female author just can't pull off a believable guy. I thought Nielson did a great job at capturing a believable rebellious boy.

- I like Sage's rebellious attitude. At times, he can be a bit too stubborn though. I have a bit of a rebel in me, and I always enjoy a good rebelliousness at times.

- The book was never du
Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers:

An orphan and gifted sneak thief, fifteen year old Sage has managed to get by since the death of his barmaid mother and drunken musician father. Passed from orphanage to orphanage, Sage has a wry but upbeat outlook on life. He steals what food he must to survive, and doesn't get caught. Well, he manages to talk his way out when he is caught. Most of the time.

Returning from his last unsuccessful heist (word to the wise: stealing a hot
*edited slightly to include Melissa's review*
Buddyread with Melissa ( :)

Melissa's review:

The premise intrigued me immediately and put in mind a bit the movie Anastasia:

There, an orphan girl was groomed to play the part of the long lost Anastasia and fool her grandmother.

This was a quick but enjoyable read for me. I had trouble putting this down and was thinking about it between breaks at work (they have this
Jan 19, 2015 Giovanna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Giovanna by: Vippi
Some things I predicted, some I did not. The False Prince is a quite entertaining read. It lacks a little bit of world-building but I'm pretty sure there will be some at least, in the next books. I loved the main character, Sage and well, I really want to pick up The runaway king now.

Conner wants to fool a whole kingdom, by placing an impersonator of the king's long-lost son on the throne. To do so he has taken four young orphans that resemble him and forced them to compete for the role. Sage i
A truly enjoyable adventure in the spirit of Lloyd Alexander's Westmark Trilogy. It reads like an excellent historical fiction, but it's a made-up world, with no magical elements. A nicely twisty plot, full of political intrigue, and an endearingly roguish main character. I've heard a couple of librarians say this was an honor book in their Mock Newberys, and I can see why.

I really want to learn how to roll a coin across my knuckles now.
Aug 25, 2014 Kay rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Thief and Finnikin
Recommended to Kay by: Book recs based on my purchase history. You win this round, Amazon.
My journey though this read was surprisingly quick despite a rocky beginning. At first, I found the narration to be unbearably choppy and juvenile. I disliked the main character, Sage. He was too cocky, smart-mouthed, and caustic for my liking. The storyline seemed forced, and secondary characters were lifeless, cardboard cut outs.

But then, somewhere and somehow, something clicked. Suddenly, characters that I found dull--Tobias and Roden particularly--gained personalities. Sage became likable, h
Jennifer Estep
The False PrinceBook: The False Prince

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Series: Ascendance Trilogy #1

Genre: Epic fantasy young adult

Summary: Sage is an orphan who's just trying to survive. However, fate has other plans for Sage, who is recruited along with three other boys and given a daunting task: learn how to impersonate a long-lost prince -- or else. Sage and the other boys travel to a country estate where they spend their days learning everything from sword fighting to etiquette in hopes of being
The False Prince is one of those books where the reader is in the dark for a long time and doesn't realize the significance of many details until they finally learn a piece of the puzzle that puts everything that came before in a different light. This kind of book is usually clever, and I do love the way everything shifts and clicks into place in that one moment.

But, I also struggle with this kind of book at first because without the smaller clues I don't get hooked right away, and find that it
N.T. Embe
Apr 22, 2012 N.T. Embe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like deception, hoodwinks, fun, and strong, awesome characters!
Recommended to N.T. Embe by: Library
This book was so much fun! I really enjoyed it! It was like eating your favorite candy, it was so delicious and went by so fast!! And not only was the writing smooth as silk--with absolutely nothing to complain about--but the entire story was executed so well that you were fully absorbed in it the entire time! It ran like water! It was smoother than a baby's bottom! Trust me on this, it was gooooooooood.


My God, the story!

WHY DID IT END SO QUICK!? You'd think 350-ish pages would
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review also appears on Happy Indulgence, check it out for more reviews!

The False Prince tells a riveting story about Conner, a noble who kidnaps four orphans to fulfil his cunning plan of training one of them into becoming the lost Prince. One of these boys is Sage, a trouble maker, pickpocket, and trickster who refuses to bend to Conner’s will. His defiance may ultimately lead to his death, but will he become The False Prince in the end?

With its multiple layers of deceit and trickery, this
Alison (AlisonCanRead)
If you don't have time to read my entire review, base your decision on whether to read The False Prince on this paragraph. After I read the last word on the last page, I set the book in front of my husband and said "Read this. Now." Not a request. A command. As the smart boy does in most circumstances, he immediately complied and loved the book. My copy of The False Prince was from the library. I waited until the last moment to return the book, re-reading favorite passages multiple times. Before ...more
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Jennifer lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a naughty puppy. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. She is a former speech teacher, theater director, and enjoyed a brief but disastrous career as a door-to-door pollster. In her spare time, Jennifer tends to panic, wondering what she has f ...more
More about Jennifer A. Nielsen...

Other Books in the Series

The Ascendance Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)
  • The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)
The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2) The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3) Behind Enemy Lines (Infinity Ring, #6) Elliot and the Goblin War (Underworld Chronicles #1) Elliot and the Pixie Plot (Underworld Chronicles #2)

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“A person can be educated and still be stupid, and a wise man can have no education at all.” 246 likes
“Master Graves was incensed and said, as punishment for my disruption, I would have to write my letters an extra ten times that day.
"Ten times the better I'll know them, then." I said. "How strange that you should punish me by ensuring I come out more educated than Roden, who has tried to obey you.”
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