One of the hardest things of being a reviewer is thinking like the intended audience for which the book is for. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, sometimes it makes all the difference when rating a book. Not every reviewer has this problem of course but it can get harder the older you get, to review a book intended for a younger audience. So I always ask myself, would younger me have liked this, aka read this in one sitting like current me has no time for??? I wasn’t surprised when the answer was an adamant YES!
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.
My first impression of the protagonist, Sage, was that I didn’t like him. He was too detached, especially in the beginning scenes where there were some surprisingly hard scenes if you go in thinking it’s book for just for younger readers. I think most can handle it, but it took me by surprise. Sage’s reactions came a bit slow at the beginning of the story but he really came to life quickly and thought the middle part wasn’t as action-packed, it kept my interest up.
Sage’s secret is easy to figure out but Nielsen keeps things interesting, weaving a tale that is full of backstory without bogging down the current story line. My personal favorite aspect of this story was that you weren’t always entirely sure who the antagonist was. Or who of the orphans was the actual best choice to lead a kingdom right at the brink of civil war.
All the side characters brought the story to its fullest colors of deceit and truth(I am especially curious to learn about a certain princess and how Sage is going to work thing out with her in future books!) but Sage was the central character that kept my attention the most because of his stubbornness to succeed even though he himself wasn’t sure he wanted to win. Admirably handled, I fully enjoyed the ending; a swordfight, a rock, and a crown for a king.
All in all, I more than enjoyed reading The False Prince and I’ll be picking up the second book soon. I definitely recommend it for all ages, it’s a tastefully written story that is sure to interest any fantasy fan.