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. Three 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.
©2012 Jennifer A. Nielsen (P)2011 Scholastic Audio
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!
Sage, the main character is well written, a bit sassy with a lot of heart.
Sage. He's the narrator. He gets himself into scrapes because of his stubborn streak. Reminds me of people I know.
Can't pick. It's just not possible for me.
This is a great book for younger readers, although I am a mom in my 30's and loved it. No swearing, no sensuality, very little violence. The violence that it does contain is not graphic. I enjoyed Charlie McWade's narration.
I had been waiting for False Prince to come out for months, and eagerly snatched up my audio copy. The book is a wonderful listen/read and goes at a good pace, especially later on. At first it may be a bit slow because of the "training" but once you get past the first bit of that, then interesting things begin to happen, several of them were small enough that I didn't realize they were of import until later in the book when it came out. I want to listen again so that I can see what else I may have missed.
Overall I give this book a 4 star because it was a good first impression. I may re-rate once I go through it again.
The book is clean, no sex, no profanity, some violence, there is always some level of that in any adventure story, boys are whipped, stabbed, shot, threatened, etc. This book is safe for 12 and up, possibly younger as long as your child can handle the death of a secondary character or two. Nothing is graphic (ie: blood spilling every where, etc)
If you enjoy this book I recommend the very similar False Princess. Another great read/listen.
Evil aristocrat kidnaps orphans for nefarious plot, clever orphan outwits him. I am hard pressed to believe that even a young listener would enjoy this. It's just a very formulaic story without the characters or details that might pull you in nonetheless.
Reader, reviewer, blogger
I enjoyed the story of the orphan boy reluctantly training to be a prince. It's classic young-adult fantasy, complete with bad guys, swords, and a kingdom in need of saving. However, I didn't enjoy the narration as much. I think the timing was off and he was trying too hard. He did well to differentiate between characters, although some of his accents were annoying.
I loved everything!!! The way that Mr. McWade read it so that each character had a different voice was awesome. And how Mrs. Nielsen wrote it was phenomenal! this was an awesome book!!!
"Quite simply, Superb"
Sage was brilliant, the right amount af angsty and genuine to make him a memorable and original narrator (and also making me love him). The plot was fast-paced, clever and brilliant. Even though I did guess the plot twist, it still was an extremely enjoyable listen (Charlie McWade has the perfect voice for Sage) and a book that I'd recommend for everyone.
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