The False Prince
by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published on April 1st, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Narrator: Charlie McWade
Length: 8 hours and 14 minutes
Source: Purchased for Audible
Amazon | Goodreads
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.
WOW! Where have you been all my life Ms. Nielsen? I found The False Prince because a blogger friend recommended it for my son B, but I beat him to it. It was awesome! *you can run now and buy a copy*
The False Prince is in essence a fantasy. Sadly, one of the most difficult parts of writing a fantasy is the world building and I feel that it was deficient here. We do know that our characters live in the country of Carthya and that it’s in the brink of civil war. We also get a lesson on the way the country’s government works and the royal family, but that’s it. I fell like a lot more could have been done to build this world.
There are two things that make this book so memorable to me, one is the plot and the second is Sage. The plot is a gem. I cannot tell you that I didn’t suspect the truth, but I couldn’t have predicted anything else that happened. The story is complicated, full of intrigue, politics, a bit of romance, challenges and twists and turns. I think it is supposed to be a middle grade series, but it doesn’t feel like one.
“The saddest thing is there won’t be anyone to miss us when we’re gone. No family, no friends, no one waiting at home.”
“It’s better that way,” I said. “It’ll be easier for me, knowing my death doesn’t add to anyone’s pain.”
“If you can’t give anyone pain, then you can’t give them joy either.”
On to Sage. If you recall, he is the second reason why I adored this book. What an incredible character! Sage is one of the three orphan boys that Conner collects for is evil plan (*insert malevolent laugh here*) Together with Roden and Tobias, he go through the motions of getting trained to be a prince. They get lessons on a lot of things, such as horse riding, sword fighting, reading, history, and manners. Oh, Sage! He is a thief, irreverent, proud, unpredictable, reckless, adventurous, and a master strategist. You cannot appreciate his awesomeness until almost the end.
The characters are so well developed. Roden, and Tobias are competing with Sage (to me there wasn’t really a competition), but Sage offers them protection and friendship. They each have their reasons for wanting to be prince, and for working hard towards that goal, even if they have to sabotage each other. Conner is a despicable man. He is cruel, conceited, and he belief himself to be all-powerful.
“No, my lady. If I cannot look at you as an equal, I will not look at you at all”
The story is told from Sage’s point of view, except for a part towards the end where the ‘truth’ is explained to the reader in the third person. As I was listening to the book, I didn’t find this awkward at all. The writing is genius to go hand in hand with the amazing plot. I already bought The Runaway King, the next book of the series and I hope to start reading it soon. I also saw that the book was purchased for movie, well signed me up!
“Kneel, please,” Conner said. “I wish to study you better.”
Come as close to me as you’d like,” I answered. “Study me here, on my feet.”
“You won’t kneel?”
“Would a prince?”
Conner raised his voice. “You’re not a prince until I say so.”
“I don’t need you to say so, sir.”
About the narration: It’s the first book narrated by Charlie McWade that I’ve listen to before and I really liked it. The voices were distinct from each other as were the accents too. This must have been difficult as most of the characters were male.