Estate planning lawyer and mom to two boys. My older son liked audiobooks as an infant, and I've listened to a lot since then.
When my sons and I listen to audiobooks, I usually enjoy them as much as the kids. This wasn't one of those times. That said, my 11 year old son finished the book in just a few sittings, on an airplane. He said this wasn't his favorite and wasn't interested in listening to the sequels, but clearly it held his interest while he was listening. His biggest complaint was that the focus of the story was on dating and relationships, and he assumed from the title it would be mostly tied in to Star Wars.
This is a popular series so I assume our experience is an anomaly, but wanted to share our thoughts in case you have a kid who doesn't like relationship drama, or like me want to find books you both enjoy.
I purchased this audio for my 12 year old and me to listen to, thinking it would be an introduction to the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed 4 little girls (note I had always heard them referred to as the "four little girls" but I was interested to learn that they were 14).
It starts out pretty far away from that, as a mostly humorous look at an African American family in Flint, MI. My son liked how the book progressed as a series of vignettes, which made it easier to pause the book and resume listening later. There were many funny moments which I wasn't expecting.
Once we got to the end, "our" family has lived through the bombing and is dealing with the aftermath. Over the following days, my son continued to question why people would have killed children to prevent having to go to school and restaurants with people of a different race. It is a very hard situation to understand, and I thought this book did a great job of making it present for him, as opposed to an event in history that's impossible to understand or experience.
LeVar Burton is a wonderful narrator. He has a thoroughly pleasing voice that would be suitable to any number of books -- he dealt with the comedic and tragic aspects equally well. I plan to look for other books he's recorded.
The book ends with a brief overview of the history, which my son enjoyed almost as much as the fictional story.
I teach middle school, and I use summers to catch up on what's hot in adolescent fiction. I spent a lot of time this summer with books in the "Hunger Games" vein, but this one was a welcome change of pace. This is my favorite kind of book--driven by fascinating characters with complex motives. It also has a well-crafted plot and intriguing politics that left me hungry for the sequel. It reminds me in all the best ways of Megan Whalen Turner's "Thief" series, but is not derivative of that. It involves a "Prince and Pauper" scheme to usurp the throne of a completely believable fictional kingdom, but layers of secrets and plot twists keep the story consistently engaging. The main character has a compelling mixture of strengths and weaknesses, and the more the reader knows, the more he/she can identify with him.
The reading was fabulous--perfect for the characters. I listened on a long drive and was completely lost in the book.
The False Prince will be among my top recommendations to my students, but it was certainly no chore to read it. I hope there's another Nielsen/McWade treasure out by next summer!