Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I haven't ranted about Megan Whalen Turner on my blog yet, have I? She's pretty well-known, so maybe I don't have to. If you haven't read The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, then drop everything else and go read them. Then you can continue with this blog entry.

So. Are you in love with Eugenides? If not, then I despair of you. I really do. But if the Attolia books are your kind of thing, then you should definitely read The False Prince. Sage is a worthy successor to Eugenides, and there isn't much else I need to say.

I love the premise of The False Prince: nobleman with questionable motives, plot to impersonate a prince, competition between orphans with life and death stakes. It reads like an epic fantasy, even though there are no fantastical elements. If conflict is the heart of story, this one's got oodles! But it's Sage's voice that raises this book into must-read status.
"I'd never attempted roast thievery before, and I was already regretting it."
Sage is funny and clever and mouthy, and excellent at getting himself into trouble. He also has hidden depths: he's not as callous as he makes himself out to be. You're constantly rooting for him and exasperated with him at the same time. The rest of the characters are all equally rounded: no cardboard villains; everyone has believable motivations, and right and wrong aren't exactly clear-cut.

This would be a great read for guys: there's fighting and plotting and sneaking around and more plotting, and hardly any romance. Girls will love Sage, and will be happy that the few female characters have "voices of their own, goals of their own, and brains. Yay!" as Sherwood Smith says in her review.

I'm excited to know this is the first book in a trilogy: more Sage to come!

The False Prince is pain au chocolat: buttery, flaky croissant wrapped around rich dark chocolate. Mmmm!

On another topic entirely, can anyone recommend a good medieval-setting YA fantasy about a witch? I'm drawing a complete blank, even though I'm sure I've read a bunch. (I can almost see their titles in the corner of my brain, but when I turn to look they're gone!)


  1. I really enjoyed The False Prince and so did my 13-yr-old daughter.

  2. haha - ok, i have to drop everything. i haven't read anything by that author!

    1. Oh, I'm so excited for you, discovering Gen for the first time . . .

  3. Ohmygosh! *fangirling* Yes, yes I read this and I absolutely loved it! MWT's Queen's Thief made me love stories about sneaky thieves in historical setting. This book soooo did not disappoint. I can't wait for book 2!!

  4. Megan Whalen Turner! One of my FAVOURITE authors. Love her stuff; I've read the four Eugenides novels and Instead of Three Wishes, and a few other short stories; not nearly enough of her stuff out there.
    I'll be checking out Jennifer Nielsen, as per your recommendation. :-)