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Ascendance #1

The False Prince

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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.

342 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2012

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About the author

Jennifer A. Nielsen

39 books7,364 followers
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 forgotten to do that has allowed her any spare time.

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42,331 (47%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 10,752 reviews
Profile Image for Small Review.
610 reviews207 followers
October 12, 2015
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 still would have Special Shelved The False Prince on the strength of his voice alone.

Sage embodies the personality of my number one most coveted male character type ever (yes, even over alpha men). The swoon is near uncontrollable. Luckily I was saved from being a total creeper lusting after a fifteen year old, because Sage's voice makes it very easy to imagine him as a completely adult 20 something.

Sage is one of those characters who has Sherlock Holmes Superpowers of Observation and Fantasticness. Which is to say, he's always about ten steps ahead of everyone, can deduce master plans from a discarded gum wrapper, and pulls it all off with the type of suave demeanor that never fails to make my knees wobble.

Plus, he's an underdog with attitude and I have a massive weakness for hot underdogs with swaggering attitude. Sage never seems to be able to resist needling those who lord over him, even if it means he'll get a bruise for his quip. He also lies like a pro, so that combined with his stealth and sneakiness make him the type of character that makes a great thief or conman.

Basically, think Han Solo plus Sherlock Holmes' brains plus extra hotness and a smidgen of vulnerability and you've pretty much got Sage.

Slow burn pacing

As much as I love fast-paced books, my favorite kinds of books actually have a slow-burn pace (NOT to be confused with a sloooow pace, which is chock full of a lot of boring filler). In a slow-burn pace, plot details come together like a puzzle, with intrigue building steadily and keeping me on my toes throughout the whole book. Like a slow-burn romance, slow-burn pacing strings me along with delicious little morsels and makes me beg for more and more.

The majority of The False Prince takes place in Conner's castle (the noble with The Plan) as he trains the boys and maliciously toys with their emotions (because, you see, only the guy that's picked to impersonate the prince gets to live).

Backstabbing (literally!) and shaky alliances abound amid secrets, lies, and a truth you may or may not see coming but is so astoundingly great that surprise level doesn't even matter (I did guess the broad strokes early on, but the details were a surprise that darn near broke my heart).

This is the first book in a series and it's very clear by the end of the book that there's a lot more to come in this story. Thankfully there isn't a dangling-by-your-fingertips cliffhanger, but it is very much like the end of The Fellowship of the Ring (the movie) where the first part of the quest is finished, the whole fellowship is broken, Frodo is poised to just walk into Mordor, and Aragorn is as hot as ever.

So, yeah, I'm satisfied with everything I got and I can wait without suffering a heart attack because I know Sage is ok, but BIG STUFF is coming and I cannot wait to be a part of it!

I can't NOT mention the romance

The plot isn't the only thing set on slow burn. Yes, that's right! Slow-burn romance! But really, it's very slow burn because not much happens in this first book outside of lots of scenes with delicious tension. There's even a touch of, well, it's not quite hate-turned-love, but there's a little combativeness there and she isn't exactly falling all over herself to be with him (and, no, she isn't insane or blind, if you can believe it!).

Really though, I'm not complaining at all. I'm firmly on the side that thinks it's much better to have the romance come together later on in the series.

Bottom line

I really...I can't...I just, I'm so unbelievably in love with The False Prince I don't even have the words to describe it. I'm so busy right now with packing and trying to get everything together to move in a few weeks, but I was very irresponsible because I pushed everything aside (including sleep AND food) just so I could devour this book.

And then I went through serious mourning when I finished because of course there aren't any other books in the series yet and all of my other Special Shelf books are packed away. So I went back and reread all of my favorite scenes in The False Prince. And then all the other scenes. And then I read my favorite scenes again. And then I tried to read other books on my TBR but they're just not The False Prince and I think I'm going to cry I'm so desperate for more.

Or, to put it in food terms, if I were given the choice between reading this book or attending an unlimited pastry banquet filled with every delectable treat imaginable, I would choose The False Prince—HANDS DOWN.

I can think of no higher praise than that.

5 Stars, Special Shelf

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Originally posted at Small Review

What did I think of the sequel, The Runaway King?
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,407 reviews9,542 followers
March 4, 2018
I don't know what the hell is wrong with me!

I'm having more 3 star reviews and a couple of 2 star reviews lately more than I ever have before. I usually know how to pick them but I'm off or something. AND 3 STARS ISNT BAD! IT JUST MEANS I LIKED IT WELL ENOUGH! I think I know what's going on and I hope to fix it soon.

I'm happy for all of my friends who loved the book to death because there is nothing like a wonderful book 😊

Happy Reading!

Mel ❤️
Profile Image for Riley.
424 reviews20.8k followers
January 5, 2016
This was such a fun quick read! I couldn't put it down, I just had to keep reading. I loved the main character and the way he not only kept secrets from other characters but from us as readers. And the dialogue in this book was phenomenal.
I can't wait to pick up the next one and plan to do it very soon!
758 reviews2,350 followers
March 22, 2017
Now I remember why I gave this book 5 stars and it had me hooked just like the first time. I love this series so much.

Listen, this book is so good it got my brother, who HATES to read, to freaking read.

I was going into my room and my brother was sitting on the bed reading this book and I was screaming for ten minutes straight. And my mom was standing there with her jaw dropped.

Listen, this book is really good.

It got someone who hates to read into reading.

It made me want to reread this book.

And I rated it 5 stars.

So listen,

You should read it.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,014 reviews1,051 followers
March 15, 2016

The following two paragraphs were going to be my review before I reached the turning point of the story:

In fairness to the book, I made this fatal mistake of reading another fantasy series after Harry Potter and poor book suffered from my biases. So to make it clear, had I read the book at a different time, I would have probably loved it but forgive me if for the entire reading all I could think about was how badly I miss Harry Potter.

I do appreciate the short chapters and that overall, it was a fast-paced fantasy read and that the premise (three orphan boys compete in order to be chosen as the false prince) was entertaining and engaging enough but this is one of those stories where I would honestly prefer a third person POV. I kind of felt weary of Sage’s (one of the orphan boys) voice and it kind of made the story predictable. I also thought Sage was not a very likable character. He’s too proud, ill-mannered and too full of himself.

Then came that most shocking climax

And I had to eat all the previous words I wrote (except that I still badly miss HP and ultimately the reason I still settled for four stars). The revelation in this particular chapter felt like Hagrid (actually make that Graupy) backslapping my face leaving my two ginormous eyes unblinking, my mouth hanging open and temporarily incapable of speech. So let me just refer you to the rest of my friends’ amazing reviews. Take your pick!

Sandra’s (She actually badgered me about reading the book. Lol!)
my big sister’s
Ate Holly’s/Eilonwy’s


Pang’s who also happens to be celebrating her birthday TODAY! Happy Birthday, my charming, sweet friend! Celebrate your special day the best way you can! BE HAPPY! <3

Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,297 followers
September 24, 2020
Since there are quite a number of similarities of both plot and characters, I can't help but compare The False Prince to The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. But unlike Gen (who is one of my all-time fave book characters), Sage- the male protagonist in this book- is sadly lacking in depth and not nearly as much fun.

Or it could simply be that I'm not the target reader- obviously, as the protagonists and sups were mostly young teenagers who behaved in a manner that made suspension of disbelief near on impossible. And if I may say so, that plot twist was unsurprising given the sheer scale of foreshadowing.

In all.....meh.
February 7, 2017

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Carthya is a kingdom on the brink of war. The royal family is dead. The youngest son, Jaron, is missing, presumed dead. A group of regents all have their eye on the vacant throne, and if one of them seizes power, it's likely that the entire kingdom will be plunged into ruin. But one nobleman named Conner has a plan. He's rounded up a group of four orphan boys - Latamer, Roden, Tobias, and Sage - that all have the look of Jaron. His plan is to groom them, train them, and in two weeks, crown the one who has best taken to the role. As for the others, well...death.

Despite being a thief and an orphan, Sage is a proud boy, and doesn't take kindly to Conner's cruel tyranny. He sustains a number of beatings, whippings, and torments at the hands of his captor. The other boys can't be trusted, either. They're all in competition for the same thing, and if one of them fails, the survivors in this cruel competition will gain from their loss.

THE FALSE PRINCE is one of those books that sounded so good, I was afraid to read it, because I couldn't stand the thought of being disappointed. This was in error. THE FALSE PRINCE is awesome. It's got all the things I love in YA - court intrigue, surprising twists, peril, death, heartbreak, friendship, competitions, deception, and action. Sage is an excellent narrator. He has all the snark of Artemis Fowl, but the humanity and determination of characters like Katniss Everdeen that make your heart ache for them as well. No matter how big a jerk he is, there's never a moment where you don't want him to succeed, because you feel in your heart that he deserves it.

The only things that I can really ding this book for are - the main twist. I saw it coming pretty early on. Also, Roden's and Tobias's characters started to feel pretty interchangeable in the last third of the book. Roden especially did some things that just felt out of character. This is just me being nit-picky, though. I finished this book in a single sitting; it was just that good.

Lord, I need that sequel. That ending.

5 stars
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
April 28, 2018
3.5 stars. Fourteen year old Sage is involuntarily hauled out of a rough orphanage by Bevin Conner nobleman in their kingdom of Carthya, as part of Conner's secret and treasonous plan (though ostensibly and debatably he has the ultimate good of the kingdom at heart): train a group of four (very soon three) orphans with the skills they would have as young nobleman, and pick the best one to impersonate the king's younger son Jaron, who was lost at sea four years earlier, at the age of ten. Once his choice is installed in the royal family, Conner will be able to control the kingdom through this boy.

The group embarks on an intense two-week period of tutoring and training, with a constant life-and-death battle between the boys to win ... since they suspect, with very good reason, that the losers will be killed to protect the secrecy of the plan. But Sage can't resist rebelling against Conner, in both small and large ways.

The False Prince is generally well written for a YA book and kept my interest, but I was irritated by several details:

- Sage's constant mouthing off. I get enough teenage lip IRL, I don't need to read a book full of it.

- insufficient world-building. It seemed like it was a general European-ish 18th or 19th century-ish kingdom. There was no magic that I recall, so I'm not sure why the author created make-believe countries without bothering to flesh them out.

- Two weeks (!!) is all that Conner takes to turn three rag-tag orphans into literate, knowledgeable, sword-wielding, horse-riding princes? Not a chance. You'd need six months, maybe a year, at least. (Shannon Hale's Princess Academy got this detail much better.)

- Very spoilerish reason here:

I did appreciate I liked The Thief much better personally, but I think this book is more accessible for younger readers. I'll pass this on to my 12 year old son, who will probably love it.

Edited to add: my son reported that he's already read this book and that it was, and I quote, "awesome." So there you go.
Profile Image for Masooma.
69 reviews132 followers
February 11, 2016
Sick Latamer, hot-headed Sage, erudite Tobias and strong Roden have one thing in common- a physical similarity to the 4-year lost and probably dead Prince Jaron of the Kingdom of Carthya. With the poisoned death of the royal family, the kingdom is at the brink of an upheaval and the so-called patriot nobleman Conner sees this as a perfect opportunity to bring forward the lost Prince. Thus, it all comes down to the frail shoulders of 15 year old orphans who are literally in a do or die situation.

The False Prince is, in one word, BRILLIANT. To me, there were hardly any faults to point fingers at. The writing is perfect and the description is crystal clear to take you to the training of these competitors, introducing to you the history of Carthya, the royal hierarchy, the fun of sword-fighting, horse-riding and the customs and culture of the realm.
The chief aspect of Jennifer's writing is, however, the dialogues. Crispy and witty, the dialogues paired with a piquant voice of the narrator, Sage keeps one fully engulfed in the novel.

Now you maybe thinking that this book is perhaps a simple, straight-forward read to the sabotage of the throne after the imposter Prince's training. But let me ensure you the plot is anything but that. The difficult and adamant working of Sage's mind is one feature which keeps the novel from sinking into just simple training. There is one master twist awaiting to welcome you as well. And the best part is that this twist could’ve easily made the novel a boring, predictable read but fear not. The author sure knows how to develop and play with her readers' interests.

In addition to the perfect writing, a world built with a realistic infrastructure and an amazing plot twist, there is one other treat viz; a strong, appealing central character.

Sage has a madcap, stubborn, and sharp-witted voice. His powerful narration had me hooked to the book from the first page itself and I wanted to know what or how he would respond in the very next second. He is definitely one of the best characters I've ever known. Take a peak yourself:

Once in a conversation with Mrs. Turbeldy, I compared myself to a caterpillar that went wherever I wanted with barely any notice. She compared me to a cockroach instead, who ran about freely in the darkness and scattered in the light. It was meant as an insult, but I thought it was a fair comparison, even a compliment judging by how hard they are to catch.

All other characters are masterfully created. I had only a teensy bit issue with the ladies- Imogen and Amarinda but I'm ready to overlook their average roles because in the grand scheme of the awesomeness of this novel it doesn't really count.

Lastly, the book has little to do with romance. It majorly focuses on a strong protagonist guaranteed to make this novel one helluva ride for you.

Layered with intrigue, competition, adventure, adrenaline, whip-smart dialogues, a refreshing voice and smart, forward planning the book isn't one which you should leave into the ignoring hallows.
Profile Image for Experiment BL626.
209 reviews352 followers
April 4, 2012
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 told from Sage's side in 1st PoV as he try to survive a mad nobleman's plan to usurp the throne. The king, the queen, and the crown prince are dead. The youngest son of the royal family Jaron is lost and presumed to be dead... Or is he? The four boys coerced by Conner all look physically similar to Jaron. The winner will become the imposter puppet prince.

TFP starts off with Conner and his two henchmen, Mott and Cregan, kidnapping Sage. When Sage wakes up, he soon encounter the other orphans. Right off in chapter 3, one of the orphans gets killed — the feeble Latamer. With this quick cruel act, the story pushes the following points: 1) Conner is ruthless. 2) This is serious business. 3) There is no escape. 4) Every orphan for himself. And 5) Only one boy will survive.

Thus begins a tale of treason and treachery with an approximate word count of 77,000.
“You’re a trick to figure out, Sage. Would you ever be on my side, even if I chose you above the other boys?”

“I’m only on my side. Your trick will be convincing me that helping you helps me.”

“What if I did?” Conner asked. “How far would you go to win?”

“The better question, sir, is how far you will go to win.” I looked him steadily in the eyes as I spoke, although his back was to the fire and his eyes were set in shadow. “You killed Latamer. So we know you’re willing to murder to win.”

“I am.” Conner backed up, speaking to all of us again. “And I’m willing to lie, to cheat, and to steal. I’m willing to commend my soul to the devils if necessary because I believe there is exoneration in my cause. I need one of you to conduct the greatest fraud ever perpetrated within the country of Carthya. This is a lifetime commitment. It will never be safe to back down from my plan and tell the truth. To do so would destroy not only you but the entire country. And you will do it to save Carthya.”
The Characters

+++ Sage the defiant orphan, our hero

A thief. A liar. From start to finish, Sage was one of the best characters I have read about. One of the criteria for me to 5-stars rate a book is that the book must have a kick-ass protagonist. Sage was a kick-ass protagonist.

Sage's biggest flaw, beside being a thief and a liar, is that his cleverness sometime slips into foolishness of the life-or-death kinds. Yet for all his shortcomings, he care for the downtrodden, keep his promises, and kill only in self-defense. There was never a moment when my sympathy for Sage slipped, never a moment when I got irritated by him either. Sage is well aware of the defects in his character and quick to realize the consequences of his action. He deals with them, he get things done, he survive.

Sage acted convincingly as a poor orphan. Who have time to mope and moan about the disadvantages about one's life and the unfairness of it all when you're too busy trying to survive. Sage doesn't mope. He may worry. He may regret. He may make mistakes, get into more life-threatening situations, and bitch about them. But he never mope. He survive.

+++ Conner the ruthless noble, our villain

Conner is what we in the modern world would call a terrorist. He says his plan will save the kingdom, that what he doing is patriotic. He says he doesn't want the throne itself, that he just wants a prince who will become a king that will listen to his ever so wise advice. He says the death of three young orphans is regrettable, but the surviving one will help him save the kingdom!

I hate Conner because he's the villain, he's the reason for our hero's predicament. He fucking killed poor Latamer! But I also love Conner because he was deliciously ruthless and mad. Sage and Conner shared several traits such as a skill for scheming, but the biggest thing that separated them was genuine empathy. Empathy for your fellow humans. Sage has that, Conner doesn't. Despite whatever BS Conner spout, his action speak the loudest and it says he is self-serving and delusional.

+++ Tobias and Roden the other orphans, our hero's rivals

It would have too easy to typecast Tobias as the brainy but bashful orphan and Roden as the brawny but butt-headed orphan, but the story didn't. Tobias and Roden tried their best to out-scheme Sage and each other. All the boys knew each other's talent and knew well that there wasn't a chance to outperform their rivals' talent so they relied on psychological warfare. Our hero, Sage, may be the cleverest of them all but he is human and he cannot be cleverer than the others all the time.

+++ Imogen and Amarinda, our hero's potential love interests

I say potential love interests because in TFP neither girls liked Sage in that way. I even hesitate to say they are love interests because their role was relatively small — they were supporting characters. Plus, I believe the reason Sage paid attention to these girls because he couldn't look away from a person in hurt.

Imogen is a mute servant oppressed in Conner's castle, while Amarinda is a foreign princess betrothed to whoever becomes the king of Carthya. First impression says they are damsels in distress, but upon a further look I saw they were strong-willed. These girls didn't ask for help, they didn't need Sage to save them from their circumstance. Whatever had happened, they chose to tough it out. These girls don't want pity. What they do want is honesty, because both hate to be deceived, even for the best of intention. At TFP's end, both girls are finding it a very hard time to forgive Sage.

Anyway, I'm not sure if there will be a love triangle. My interpretation is that Sage see Imogen as a fellow downtrodden to be rescued. Amarinda, on the other hand, loved the crown prince, Darius. There were no flirting or kissing in this novel, thus no romance. If anything, I think adding romance would have weakened the plot and distracted Sage's goal to survive.

The Writing

The story was minimal on imagery and world-building, but I saw that as good things. TFP prefer the reader to learn about its world through dialogue and action. There were no info-dumping. If there was, then it would probably be the flashback that occurred in two consecutive chapters towards the end. Two consecutive chapters of a flashback may seem long in saying it as so, but I devoured these chapters quickly. They weren't long to me as a reader who generally dislike flashbacks. Basically, the novel was character-driven. Most of it took place at Conner's castle where the orphans learn how to act as Jaron.

The pacing was steady, but there was always a sense of urgency and danger underlining it. There were no slow moments for me because I was entirely captivated by the novel. The writing was straightforward, no purplish prose or corny lines. Well, maybe a few corny lines.

Twists and Turns

Slightly predictable, YMMV. There were hints found around so I got ecstatic in figuring things out before the story revealed its secrets to me. I didn't expect all the twists and turns, a few I didn't expect them to happen immediately in this novel. TFP hardly left any loose ends; there is no cliffhanger. Nevertheless, I'm dying to read the sequel because TFP ended on such a high note.


I rate TFP 5-stars for it was amazing. TFP is a popcorn fantasy. I had great joy in watching Sage maneuvering and manipulating his way around. The climax in chapter 53 was The Bomb. I kept reading it over and over again.

I recommend it for anyone who enjoys Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series. TFP is what book 4 A Conspiracy of Kings should have been imo.
Profile Image for Lily - Books by Starlight.
401 reviews179 followers
September 6, 2022
⋇⋆✦⋆⋇One of my 2021 favorites⋇⋆✦⋆⋇

I'm superrrr happy with this book! It's one of those where you think all the small details don't matter, but they do! I thought Sage was such an idiot half the time, but okay, maybe I was wrong. Just maybe. (🤣 I'm just kidding.)

About the plot twists. I had already considered nearly all of them, but there was one that I hadn't thought about. It should've been obvious, but I didn't think the person I'm talking about was bad enough to do it. Not saying who and not saying what the person did, though. 😂😂😂

Okay, sorry, this is a horrible review, but I can never review my favorite books well for some reason. I'd highly recommend this series (see more below)!

Edit: For fans of TFP, there's a short story from Jennifer's blog about Sage’s time at Mrs. Turbeldy’s Orphanage for Disadvantaged Boys! http://jennielsen.com/archives/3911

««Recommended for those who love...»»
☐ Fantasy
☐ Middle grade and/or YA
☐ First person POVs
☐ Action and adventure
☐ Medieval settings
☐ Ranger's Apprentice
☐ The 39 Clues
☐ Treacherous plots
☐ Plot twists
☐ Deception
☐ Intrigue
☐ Snarky comments?
Profile Image for Muse-ic ♬.
381 reviews110 followers
March 21, 2017
HOLLA! JUST AS AMAZING THE SECOND TIME AROUND. Except possibly even better because now I know what details to look for. The experience was so much more vivid. Anyone who's read this knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about.
If you haven't read this, then prepare yourself for a recommendation comin' atchu!
The following is my old review. Spoilers are 100% marked. It's a fangirly review. Read it!
Congratulations book! You just earned yourself a position on the honorary Favorites Shelf !

This is a SOLID 5 STAR READ! Usually when I give a book 5 stars, I'll think about it beforehand and wonder if the book really deserved 5 stars.
With The False Prince though, there was no doubt in my mind that this book deserved beyond 5 shining stars !

I would recommend this to everyone. EVERYONE!! I sent many of you this book as a recommendation. Trust me when I say that this book is the embodiment of the word "fabulous". I am so deeply in love with it!

I will not cover this review with an epic spoiler alert, though there will be spoilers! Don't worry though, I will mark them.
*SERIOUSLY, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK, DO NOT OPEN THE SPOILERS! You will ruin it for yourself. Completely and utterly ruin it. Don't do it.

You've been warned!

In the kingdom of Carthya, a civil war is brewing. Discontent and anger is spreading through the land, and it's the King and royal family's job to quell the unrest.......right??
There is one tiny problem with that plan. There is no royal family. That's right! They're dead. The King, Queen, and their son Darius are DEAD!
And the people are unaware. There are rumors, but the people haven't confirmed them. It's only a matter of time before the people demand a replacement. They need a king on the throne.

Cue Conner, a nobleman of the court. Conner's plan is to resurrect Prince Jaron, the youngest son of the royal family who was said to have been killed/drowned in a pirate attack on his ship four years earlier. The prince's body was never found, so Conner's goal is to use that shred of doubt to say that Prince Jaron was actually alive and place him on the throne. The only problem is that Conner is absolutely sure that the prince is dead. So what now?

Conner scours the orphanages of Carthya and gathers four boys who have a physical resemblance to the late Prince.
Meet Latamer, Roden, Tobias, and Sage.
Each boy has his own memorable qualities. Latamer is feeble, Tobias is educated, Roden is strong, and Sage is snarky and stubborn.
After two weeks of different types of training, Conner would select the most suited boy to present to the royal court as the faux Prince Jaron.
Our protagonist is Sage, a boy who is originally from one of the neighboring kingdoms.

I love Sage! He's the epitome of awesome boy characters. I love his attitude, I love his personality, I love him! He kind of reminds me of a more mature Percy Jackson.
I love how kind he is to the servants and how he stands up to Conner.

I loved how there was virtually no romance in this book! Sure, Sage had his fondness for a certain character, and that developed nicely. Actually, I see potential of a love triangle in the next book, but a juicy and well-placed love triangle, not a crappy one.

Imogen, one of Conner's servants, is awesome!

I also really liked how Princess Amarinda, Darius' betrothed, was not a bratty girl. I truly admired her personality!

I DESPISE Cregan!! Hate him.
I love Mott because he's truly a kind-hearted man and guided Sage whenever he could.

My opinion of the other boys changed throughout the book:
I had nothing against them at first.....then Tobias was all like "I'm gonna be prince so don't try to get in my way" and he tried to hurt Sage and I was like GTFO (maybe you saw my status update about that?) And then the minute he got in trouble, he begged Sage for mercy. Sage, being the awesome person he is, agreed to protect him and stuff as long as Tobias swore loyalty to him. Tobias proved to be useful later, so I half forgave him.
Roden was mostly meh, but I really him in the end!

***REMINDER: Do not open the spoiler if you haven't read this!

The False Prince is a book that deserves a place on everyone's shelf! Add it if you have not! You will not regret it!!
I cannot express enough how much I loved this! It was also amazing as an audiobook; the narrator was fantastic :D
As I approached the end, I was jumping around the house, shaking my brother by the shoulders, and telling him that he just has to read this book!
You're welcome!
Profile Image for Nina.
306 reviews408 followers
March 15, 2016


I went into this book with absolutely no expectations (thank you, inexistent hype) and came out gasping and fangirling and hyperventilating, which is the absolute best way to experience a book.

The three pillars of The False Prince
♖ In my opinion, the main character, Sage, is this book's strongest asset. He thieves and rebels. He's intelligent and feisty but kind-hearted. And he's a bomb of reckless plans, snappy retorts and defiance ready to detonate. In short, he's pretty damn swoon-worthy. To be frank here, the book would've been only half as good without Sage to wreak havoc. I further liked the characterization of the supporting characters. Latamer is the sickly one and serves as a tool. Roden (or RodenT, as Masooma and I like to call him) is described as a muscle-packed boy with tanned skin – in other words, he's the do-er. Tobias is a skinny boy with a brain full of history facts – he's the thinker. And, well, Sage is both.
♖ The plot was unspectacular for the most part but it didn't bother me in the slightest because, as I said, Sage kept me entertained enough. What really gripped me regarding the plot were its twists: The plot twists were mind-blowing. Yes, I did have an idea as to how the story could turn out. And yes, I threw them all over board because I thought I was wrong. This kind of plotting actually reminded me a bit of The Kiss of Deception, only backwards.
♖ The third pillar consists of little things I cherish about this book: The soft touch of a slow-burn romance, the tug-of-war between Sage and Conner, and the loyalty of what's-his-name (see, Nina? This is why we don't write a review 1 month after having read the book).

Speaking of writing this review: If my friend Chantal hadn't picked up this book, I would've never realized that I still had a review to write for this. #massivefailure

You don't want to pick up this book for the action, the swordfights and the courtfights. Because, even though some aspects are there, they are not the core of this book. You want to pick up this book for Sage because he's one of a damn kind.

Also, I think celebrations are in order: This was book #330 on my read-shelf *fistbumps air*

Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,257 reviews8,680 followers
February 14, 2016
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer Nielsen is in my opinion exactly what juvenile fiction/middle grade fantasy is supposed to be.

Nimble-fingered orphans who proactively take measures to fill their bellies? Check.

Evil masterminds plotting to overthrow a kingdom? Also, check.

A Big Secret that isn't easily identifiable b/c super sneaky use of ambiguity? CHECK.

And all of that is in addition to the highly entertaining snark that does not stop. <------SNARK, I love it.

Meet Sage.

Sage is all things cocky and self-assured that make up clever early adolescent boys. He can steal whatever he needs without getting caught, and if he is caught, no one can hold on to him long enough to prove it.

He's not happy with his lot in life, but he understands his place in the world and is content to live day-to-day without giving much thought to what he'll do when he's forced to leave the home for boys where he currently resides when he turns fifteen.

Meet Conner.

Conner is a nobleman on a mission to Save the Kingdom. A mission that involves rounding up orphan boys of a certain age and appearance and training them to behave convincingly like noblemen themselves.

Sage wants nothing to do with whatever Conner's plan is, but when it becomes obvious that he must submit or be hunted and silenced, he decides to stick around and see what all of this is really about.

If you want to know what it's all about, you'll have to read it for yourself (b/c not telling).

And I hope you do. Not only is it a quick, easy read, but this is the kind of book that parents can read out loud to their children, children can read to themselves, or adults can read for their own pleasure.

Is the world-building or plot as complicated or as twisty as an adult fantasy novel? No. It's not. J-U-V-E-N-I-L-E fiction. But the story and characters are more than interesting enough to keep you entertained, especially if you don't go into reading it with unrealistic expectations.

At least I think it is. And this is the second time I've read it, so not a fluke. Highly recommended.

Jessica Signature
Profile Image for Simona B.
887 reviews2,974 followers
July 16, 2016
"If we can weed out your bad manners and defiant nature, I suspect you could convince the nobles that you are him."
"If you weed those out, then there's nothing left of me."

In the interests of the future readers: I'm nearing the end of The Runaway King now, the second book in the trilogy, and as far as I can tell so far, The False Prince works perfectly, probably even better, as a standalone. Therefore, if you'd like to give this world a chance but you're not sure you want to go through all three books, in my opinion you can safely read the first and stop there. This doesn not alter the fact that I'm finding the second installment as entertaining at the first, but generally not as good.

Sage is a stunningly compelling lead. He's barely fifteen, but he has the mind of the most seasoned -and charming- outlaw. He is cunning, sharp-tongued, the type who makes sure to have not only a backup plan, but a backup plan for the backup plan and so on, as far as his wits can go. He's also the type who lets you think you should keep an eye on your watch while he steals your wallet, and that can cheat and lie to your face without you noticing until it's already too late. His backstory may not shine for its originality, but it's unexpected and even cruel, and it only made me love him more. He alone suffices to earn the book all the stars.

The plot twist: okay, maybe it's a bit far-fetched to call it so because honestly, who wasn't imagining it? But when it's predictable and you enjoy it nonetheless, isn't that almost as good as when you don't expect it at all? So, yes, no complaints from me on that matter.

•I admit that the first half of the book is no more than mediocre, though not boring nor badly written and still absolutely enjoyable. From approximately the middle onwards, it only gets better and better, becoming a true page-turner.

The secondary characters do their job just fine, but without particular brightness. At times, I'm afraid I found them blander than I'd like, but since it didn't markedly bother me, I'd call it a minor flaw.

•It seems that The False Prince qualifies as middle-grade, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to more mature readers. With the exception of Rick Riordan, I don't read middle-grade books and don't find particular pleasure in them, but I reckon that my enthusiasm for this book speaks for itself.

➽ The reason you should read this is very, very simple: Sage. You don't need further motive. He is an irresistible character and an irresistible narrator, who knows what to withold and what to let on to increase our curiosity and our surprise. Priceless.
Profile Image for jv poore.
609 reviews203 followers
October 6, 2021
The King of Carthya has many enemies. Some dislike his way of ruling, while others simply want the chance to push their own agendas. Many in his court detest him for sending away his youngest son, Prince Jaron. No one would argue with the fact that the 10-year old was strong-willed, mischievous, opinionated and completely improper; but he was adored for his spirit. Immediately upon being sent away, it was said that pirates attacked his ship, Prince Jaron had been killed. While all of the evidence was there, the boy’s body had not been found in the five years that have passed.

Bevin Conner, serving as one of the king’s twenty regents, wants the king ousted because he believes that the king will not be strong enough to defend the country, and war is imminent. He learns of the rumour that the King, his Queen, and Jaron’s older brother, the Crown Prince, have been murdered. Upon gaining this information, he sets out to several orphanages looking for boys that may resemble Jaron as he would look today. Conner chooses four boys he plans to groom to impersonate the Prince, who will later serve as his puppet in gratitude for being removed from the orphanage. Obviously, only one boy will be chosen at the end of the two-week training.

The False Prince is intended for the Middle Grade genre (ages 10 – 14). I can’t imagine a more enticing book for that age group. The tale is filled with entertaining characters and tons of twists and turns. It is quite suspenseful and engaging. While it tells a fascinating and captivating story, there is another layer. There are characters that are evil to the core, but appear to be looking out for the best interest of the kingdom. The orphans are unique, and their interactions compelling. It is clear that they are in a competition, the reader is challenged in determining when, if at all, there is sincerity or camaraderie among them. Truth and lies are intertwined, promises are made and broken, trickery and sabotage occur frequently; making this a fast-paced story that this reader could not put down (despite being well outside of the intended audience). It is written in both first and third person, giving the reader different views of each character. For me, it shows by example, that no matter how insubordinate, flippant and arrogant a person may appear, there could be a heart of gold that can be seen when looking past the apparent character flaws.

This is the first book in the Ascendance Trilogy. While I have tons more praise to share, I also have the second book in the series, The Runaway King, sitting in front of me begging to be read.

This review was written for Buried under Books Blog.
Profile Image for Jeff.
115 reviews501 followers
November 15, 2014
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!
Profile Image for Anne.
3,872 reviews69.2k followers
April 28, 2018
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 impressed.
The plot had a good enough twist, even though I suspected it early on, that I was still second-guessing right up till the Big Reveal.

It's about a cheeky boy named Sage, who gets plucked (unwillingly) out of an orphanage by a shady noble with a plan.
What's the plan, you ask?
Well. Let's take a look at the title, shall we?
Ooooh. I'll bet I know what that shady noble wants him to do!
Or that's what I imagine you'll say, anyway.

And you're right!
This guy has bought (because you can buy orphans in this book) four different boys, in an attempt to turn one of them into The MISSING Prince.
One boy gets the ax right off the bat, and the other three are left to sorta duke it out. Whoever can turn themselves into the best 'imitation prince' wins. They each know that their benefactor isn't going to leave any witnesses alive to ruin his plan, so whoever doesn't get picked...
That's my knife across the throat sound, in case you were wondering.

The violence was there, but it wasn't excessive, and it was done in an age-appropriate way. Which is kinda nice from a mom's point of view.
There's a crush-style romance, but (again) it's all age appropriate.
The best part? I didn't feel like I was reading a cookie-cutter children's story.
Strange friendships, unlikely betrayals, family secrets, and a nice little touch of revenge thrown in for good measure.
I'm going to continue this series, in the hopes that it might be something I'll end up buying for the kids!
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews826 followers
February 9, 2019
Jennifer A. Nielson is the queen of her genre. The first book in the Ascendence Trilogy, The False Prince, is a perfect balance of plot twists, action, heart, wit, and emotion. I think I can honestly say this is the most complex book I have ever read.

Written in the first person POV of a fifteen-year-old orphan boy named Sage, Nielson masterfully reveals details to the reader one by one throughout the book, and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the story takes another twist - then another and another.

Sage is a remarkably complex character. He’s arrogant and cocky, sarcastic, and incredibly smart, but he’s also insecure, unsure, and still a young boy trying to figure out how to survive in this dangerous world. The reader can’t help but empathize with at least one aspect of his character, if not more.
The rest of the cast is nearly as complex. From the manipulating Bevin Connor to the villainous Creegan, to the tenderhearted, but misled Mott, bookerly Tobias, and sweet Imogen. The entire cast of characters is vibrant and realistic and left me shaking my head in awe at their complexities.

Not only is Nielson a master of characters, she is also extremely talented when it comes to description and world building. Within the course of one short book (these are YA novels, after all), she creates a brand new, large and multiplex world that is so vivid the reader isn’t just reading this story, they are in the story, living the story. The plot, in my opinion, is unparalleled in its uniqueness and intricacies. It’s hard to say much about it without spoiling anything due to the aforementioned numerous twists and turns, so we’ll just leave it at that.

Overall, Neilson pens a novel that will grip your attention and your emotions from the very start, and won’t let go until you finish the entire trilogy. (I definitely recommend having all three on hand before starting The False Prince!)

Note: I highly recommend listening to Scholastic Inc’s audiobook version of the series narrated by Charlie McWade. He does an incredible job personifying each character.
Profile Image for Joey.
219 reviews82 followers
April 26, 2020
I forgot how amazing this book was.
I might write a full review at some point since I never did that originally but idk. We’ll see.

This was a reread, but at the same time I almost remembered nothing from the first time I read it. Which means one of two things: it wasn’t that great or I read it when I was like 12. In this case, it’s definitely the second because this book... was great.

A few likes:
Jennifer Nielsen’s writing really never ceases to amaze me. It’s written in just a beautifully simple way.

The characters. They were all so beautiful! I love Sage. Imogen... was pretty good but I actually didn’t love her? Mott was great. Tobias and Roden were pretty much brats (which was basically the point).

The sarcasm/ sass. SAAAAAGE OMW I love his character


I can’t really say there was anything I specifically didn’t like about this book, except there was maybe one or two times a few things didn’t line up. At times there were just some things that didn’t seem right? Just me? Probably. But that’s why this wasn’t able to merit a five star from me. But I still enjoyed it! A lot!

And it’s clean!! *jigs* yeeeeeee for clean ya 🥳🥳

Happy reading guys!!
Profile Image for Rachel Maniacup.
153 reviews80 followers
February 19, 2016
I don't know how exactly to describe what I felt about this book but I'm certain that this one has captured my attention and my heart from the moment I turned the first page,'til the last! It was like,I had been magnetized by this book and couldn't let it out of my grip.(can't stay away from it,I even had to hold my bladder!Lol!)

This is a story of a 14 year old orphan boy named SAGE,(the protagonist here,who is so clever,strong,and with a witty-sharp tongue)who was bought by a royal regent named Bevin Connor,to be a part of a scheme of being an impostor(false)prince of a kingdom named Carthya.

Along with Sage are three other orphans: Latamer,Tobias and Roden.Each one would compete for the prince's throne that revolves a fierce competition.And of course,I rooted for Sage the entire time because I just simply love him! What's not to love about this boy when he's everything you've wanted for a son?(when you're a mom like me,of course!) He is charming,smart,hilarious and witty! He maybe stubborn at times but he absolutely has a huge heart especially with orphans like him.

This is my first book of Jennifer A.Nielsen and I instantly fell in love with her and with her novel. She did an incredibly clever job of creating this book by putting a lot of twists and turns,non-stop action,adventure and suspense through out the book.The characters were amazing,and each one played an important role in the story,uniquely.

And though,I may have predicted the main twist or the over all plot,It was really fulfilling and justifying to see how things perfectly and wonderfully played out.

I loved everything in this book because it's utterly irresistable! And the best part of this is the strong character development,and the story itself..that even when you would want more,this book can be a stand alone 'cause when you're done reading it,you'd feel happy and satisfied with the ending.(Yes,of course there's more to this series and I can't wait to read the next!)^^

This is the best book I've read in a while,and I'm certain that this one would go to my "to be reread shelf"! This is a must read,highly recommended novel! Thanks to my wonderful friend,Muse-ic(SANDRA) for recommending this to me. You may also check PANG,MASOOMA,and ALAFIYA's review!^^
Profile Image for Alafiya.
53 reviews277 followers
February 8, 2016
4.5 stars




Yes guys, Alafiya is speechless.

I haven't got any witty, funny or sarcastic things to say. I haven't got any insults to throw. I don't even have good humour for praising this one. Because I AM FREAKING SPEECHLESS. And well, very serious. Serious about how awesome this book is. Serious about how it held me in it's grip from the first moment to the last word. Serious about how embarrassingly in love with fifteen year old Sage I am. I bow to Sage's wit and admit how much of a dimwit I would feel were he standing right in front of me right now. Book characters like Sage are masters to me. All praise Sage's eternal wit.

A minute please. *Takes a deep breath. Stands up and paces, collects her thoughts then returns*

A falling kingdom with rising deceit. The king is dead, all hail the King. But who is the king? Everyone wants to be the king. Nobleman Conner forces three boys into a game of his making, for taking over the throne by impersonating the King's long lost son, Conner says he is compelled to do this for he is a patriot who is desperate for saving his land but that is not all.

Packed with action, thrill, perfect adventure, perfect pace, diverse perfect characters, perfect writing, wit, dialogues and twists this is a book for all. Though if you are strong devotees of romance books this might not satisfy you as much as it satisfied me.

I have nothing else to say, go read someone else's review for more details. But hey, wait, I got two more things to say. One, for some reason I couldn't stop imagining characters from Harry Potter. Draco (aka Tom Felton) was my Sage. Two, I've given this book 4.5 stars now because I felt a tiny bit special something was missing (I don't yet know what) I might come back and give it 5 stars a few days later.

K, bye. I'll go devour the sequel now.
Profile Image for Vinaya.
185 reviews2,076 followers
April 17, 2012
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 as a whole.

This book was a fun romp, despite the heavy-handed hints and the reader being railroaded into a very obvious conclusion. However, like I said, it lacks the elegance of Turner's prose and pacing. The story is of Sage, an orphan boy who is picked up along with two other orphans by a twisted patriot, whose aim is to train one of the boys to take the place of a dead prince of a kingdom on the verge of civil war. Oh, and did I mention this training spans only two weeks? Yes, apparently, in two weeks, three orphan boys from the streets are expected to learn to read, write, dance, fight and comport themselves like royalty, and to do so with a flair that will fool an entire complement of watchful, vengeful courtiers.

There are many, many flaws in this book, not the least its simplistic approach to plot and characterization. There is no attempt to paint in the shades of grey to any of the characters. Both Sage's actions and his rationalizations are pretty much out there, all the time. As are those of all the other characters. But the story flowed smoothly and fast, and despite knowing exactly what was going to happen, I still kind of enjoyed the journey. This is for people looking for a fast, uncomplicated read, or for the younger spectrum of YA fantasy readers. Nothing great, or even special, but cute enough in its own way.
Profile Image for Ethan the Bibliophile.
86 reviews10 followers
May 26, 2022

Let's break this down, shall we?


The kid is running away after stealing a roast
Fat lady doesn't like him
He's in a wagon now
Ooo him and two three others are on a quest-
One kid dies
These boys find out that they're +.*iMpOrTaNt*.+
Conner is rich and the boys are staying in his stupid rich house
The boys are all prince wannabes, but only one can win.
Sage can't ride a horse. Youch.
Nobody really likes Sage... oh well.
Sword missing?
The mute girl can talk... oo la la
Sage keeps getting hurt. Idiot.
This stinking princess comes around and decides to spoil things for everyone and now they're about to fall a thousand feet into a pit of inevitable and impending doom :))
Veldergrath is here now... woops
Sage kills a man :D
Veldergrath go bye-bye for now
Roden is going to be Prince of-
Nah, Sage is.
+.*cOiN fLiP*.+
Because, actually actually, Sage has always been Prince Jaron
I think of fruit snacks whenever I read Mott's name
Conner beats up Sage and tells Sage his demands. How rude!
Sage gets ready for the ceremony
Blah blah blah
Sage and Roden get in a fight. Ooooo
Roden loses lol what a noob
Kerwyn approves of Sage as Jaron! Woohoo!
Conner gets arrested for FREAKING MURDER!!
Veldergrath gets kicked out of the regents
Imogen is put into a higher space
Happy ever after :))


I loved this!!! There were parts that I didn't fully understand and everything that took place at Conner's house was a little empty, but, in the end, I really loved this!! At one point, I was seriously set on giving this book a 3 star because of how much I hated Sage, butttt thankfully that all changed!! :D

(P.S I know I was trying to copy my review for The Hobbit, so if it's not as funny I'm sorry lol I'm not the greatest at keeping things consistent in terms of comedy)

Profile Image for Brian Yahn.
310 reviews592 followers
Want to read
March 25, 2016
If the first chapter is any indicator, this book is great. Read the sample on a train ride, and let's just say, the description is great, it starts off with action and a touch of mystery, and I totally love the main character. Moving this way up on my to-read list.
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,588 reviews1,468 followers
August 6, 2015
Seems like I can't say no to a buddy read with my pals at Buddies Books and Baubles. What's another book tossed onto the pile?

Short review cuz I’m so behind on them….

Sage is a classic rapscallion, I don’t get to use that word enough, I mean when we meet him he is running through the city trying to keep a hold of a slippery roast he just stole. The kid has a quick tongue that always seems to get him into as much trouble as it gets him out of and he seems to have a little problem gift with sticky fingers.


He seems like an industrious young orphan on the brink of being on his own until someone shows up and makes him an offer he literally can’t turn down. It seems like Sage will be in a competition with a few other boys, the prize is initially unclear but it soon becomes apparent that to lose would be very dangerous. So Sage must learn everything he can in two weeks or possibly not make it out of this situation alive
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.”

Middle Grade books are fun to read sometimes because I don’t have to put a ton of thought into them. This story is really readable. Sage and his discordant ways are easily likable and I enjoyed how he turned every obstacle into an advantage. He plays people off each other well and is as stubborn as a rock when he sets his mind on something no matter the consequences he must pay.

As an adult I guessed many of the twists that the book had coming in it. There were still a couple of surprises but not as many as there probably would have been if I was a younger reader. That didn’t stop it from being enjoyable though and I sped my way through the story very easily.

I didn’t only like Sage I also became attached to a few of the other characters like Hobb and Imogen. The friendships that Sage built with them along the way were some that I know will play out more in the upcoming books. There is a cute inkling of a romance with Imogen but it was totally age appropriate and it was refreshing to have something stay so innocent.

Even though this is a trilogy this first book wraps up nicely as a standalone.

Overall - If you have kids and are looking for something to read with them that won’t bore you to tears. Or if you are like me and enjoy a good fun MG fantasy every now and again with interesting characters then this should be perfect for your needs.
Profile Image for Bea.
195 reviews107 followers
December 6, 2018
4/5 stars!

Picked this up on a whim as my library had the audiobook available and I really liked the cover. This was surprisingly good and I liked the story overall, although being fairly predictable (the main downside) and most of the characters were fun to read about making it an interesting story :)
Profile Image for Elizabeth Drake.
429 reviews90 followers
April 12, 2012

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 disposal to outmaneuver the other boys and convince the kingdom that he is fit to rule.

Review: The False Prince is the first book in The Ascendance Trilogy, and when I finished this book I was incredibly thankful that there are more to come while, at the same time, lamenting that I did not have the next installment NOW. This novel manages to invoke the same sense of intrigue and danger that Game of Thrones does, but presents it in a manner that is appropriate for a young audience. At the end I found myself warring contradicting emotions as half of me wanted to finish quickly so that I could find out what happens while the other half wanted to slow down a savor each word.

The voice of Sage, hooked me from the very first page. He is clever, witty and self-deprecating. He interjects a wonderful sense humor into the most serious of situations and is able to manipulate the other characters into playing along in his grand master plan. His antics left me laughing, shaking my head or asking "why can you not keep your mouth shut!" (and sometimes all three) in the most wonderful of ways. Sage is the type of character that is impossible not to root for and I truly feel that he will appeal to both male and female readers, a feat that seems difficult to accomplish in most YA novels.

The plot unfurls slowly but steadily, with secrets and betrayals around every corner. There was not a single moment when I was bored or wishing for more action. This is one of those books in which seemingly insignificant details will later be revealed as integral to the plot. I adore novels where all the puzzle pieces seem to fall into place, creating a finished piece that is full of detail and leaves the reader reflecting on all of the moments that brought us to this place.

The False Prince is easily the best book I have read this year and I am especially excited because this is a book that I can hand both my male and female students knowing that they will return begging for the next in the series. This is a wonderful addition to any classroom library, kid's bookshelf or adult's to-be-read pile.

Teaching/Parental Notes:
Age: 12 and up
Gender: Both - Boys will LOVE this book!
Sex: None
Violence: Shooting with an arrow, swordplay, stabbing
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Abuse: None
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