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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1) by Jennifer A. Nielson

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.

First Look: ***** I don't remember the last time I was this excited for the release of a non-series book.  Usually, if I've never read a book by an author before and they have a new book coming out, I'm interested.  I'm not dying to get my hands on it, though.  But with this book, I just had a feeling that it would be awesome.  And my instincts about whether or not I'll like a book are usually quite accurate. 

Setting: *****
It was alright.   There wasn't anything particularly special about it, for me.  I enjoyed it, but it didn't stand out from the crowd.  However, it definitely has potential to expand and become something awesome in the next two books.  c

Characters: *****  I love Sage.  I truly, honestly do.  Not the "Oh my Rowling, he's HAWT!" sort of love (thought I'd sooner date him than pretty much all of the standard YA love interests).  No, this is a "I love this kid!  He's hilarious and I'd love to have him as a friend" sort of love.  I was only three pages in, and he was already cracking lines that made me grin.  If you had any idea how hard it is to get a physical reaction out of me when reading, you'd be impressed.  I also loved his other side, the side trying not to crumble under the weight of responsibility, the side with dark secrets. 
I probably looked a bit like this.  Except for the fact that I'm neither Jack nor Leonardo DiCaprio, did not have a convenient little breeze blowing my hair around in an attractive way, and was not on the Titanic.*

Of the other characters, the only one I really liked was Imogen.  The author intended this, though.  The other characters, like Tobias and Roden, were certainly well-developed.  I respected them, as characters, but I didn't like either of them, as it should be.

Plot: ***** I love the concept of this plot.  A competition to impersonate a prince?  Yes please!  Unlike so many other new releases, this concept was carried out very well.  I was constantly wondering what would happen next, edge of my seat, etc. etc. etc.  And there even was a bit of swordfighting.

The only predictable part was Sage's big secret.  I guessed it a little ways before it was revealed.  This might be because the main character of my book has pretty much the same secret.  I probably recognized the signs, and saw it coming.  Even so, I very much enjoyed the twist.  It added a whole new layer of awesome to the story. 

Uniqueness: ***** 
Wonderfully unique.

Writing: *****
I loved how much Sage's voice came through in the narration.  The author did a great job with that.  I saw the story completely through Sage's eyes, not the eyes of a narrator, or a narrator pretending to be the main character.  The writing had all the same attitude, all the same charm and rebelliousness.

Likes: Basically everything.

Not-so-great: I have to wait One.  Whole.  Year.  to read the sequel.  Grr!

Overall: I very much enjoyed this book!  I loved Sage and all his snarky, funny lines.  I loved the concept, which was, thankfully, very well-done.  There are just so many things to love about this book, so many reasons to read it.  I'd recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.  It would be especially good for boys, and will appeal to younger readers as well.  It's more like a 4.5, but I don't round up when it comes to 4.5s.  Awesome read!

*Okay, so I just wanted to throw a Titanic GIF into that review.  Because I can.
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