Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (The Ascendance, bk. 1)

Main character: Sage, a 14-year-old orphan
Location: the kingdom of Carthya
Time period:  Medieval-ish
Genre: Fantasy (non-magical)

A friend and co-worker has been urging me to read this book, the first in the Ascendance Trilogy.  Not only was she right that I'd enjoy it, I've already checked out book #2 to read next.

Sage is an orphan, a thief, and a street rat.  One day a nobleman named Conner arrives at Mrs. Turbeldy's orphanage and offers to take Sage off her hands--and pay her a handsome price for the exchange.  She agrees with alacrity, and Sage is thrown into a cart with three other orphan boys, all of similar age and, strangely, of similar physical features and build.

Once they arrive at Conner's castle, his sinister plan is revealed--the royal family has been killed and Conner wants to gain control of the kingdom by installing Prince Jaron on the throne.  Prince Jaron was lost at sea four years earlier when pirates attacked his ship but his body was never found, so Conner is seeking a boy of the right age and physical type who could impersonate the prince well enough to convince the regents.  Thus begins a dangerous competition where the winner gains a throne and the losers lose their lives to ensure their silence.

The False Prince is a suspenseful cat-and-mouse game with layers of secrecy, lies, and betrayals.  We are fairly sure that Sage will win out--he is the main character after all--but how will he save the others?  And why he is fighting Conner at every turn?  And just where is the story going after this?

The False Prince was on the 2013 Texas Lone Star Reading List.  I read a copy checked out from my library.

No comments: