(Image from Barnes & Noble)
Sage isn't planning on living in an orphanage his whole life, but that doesn't mean he's willing to leave his home with just anybody. Especially not a man like Bevin Conner. A nobleman who claims to be on the king's errand, Conner obviously has ulterior motives for gathering up orphans. And, no matter how much he's roughed up for it, 14-year-old Sage doesn't plan to stick around to see what those sinister plans might be. He's going to escape—now.
When Sage hears Conner's idea, though, he's intrigued. With the country on the brink of civil war, the nobleman, who truly is one of the king's regents, has a crazy plan to reunite it. He's searching for a boy who can pass for the king's long-lost son, a boy who can impersonate a prince well enough to fool even the most discerning royals. A boy to rule, a boy to become the next king of Carthya. The catch? In order to live in the palace, to sleep in comfort, to dine on sumptuous feasts, to act the part of a spoiled royal, Sage must prove he can act the princely part better than the three other orphans Conner has nabbed. If he loses the competition, he'll be killed. As little as Sage likes the idea of playing prince, he likes the idea of dying even less. So, he agrees to participate in Conner's deadly little contest.
As the competition heats up, Sage realizes he's involved in a game far more complicated than he ever realized. He can trust no one. One false move can mean instant death, or worse. With his life on the line, Sage must figure out what Conner's really up to—before it's too late for them all.
With lots of buzz in the blogosphere, a Cybil for best book in Middle Grade Fantasy & Science Fiction, and now a Whitney Award nomination (as well as lots of other honors), The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen has been getting a lot of attention lately. It's easy to see why—the book's a fun, action-packed thriller guaranteed to pull young (and old) readers in and keep them riveted until its very last word. It's predictable in a lot of ways and I wasn't thrilled with the "big reveal" as it felt like cheating on Nielsen's part. Still, The False Prince has plenty of action, adventure and intrigue, which makes it a fast, exhilarating read sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys a good yarn. And, really, who doesn't?
(Readalikes: Hm, I can't really think of anything. Can you?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for scenes of peril
To the FTC, with love: I bought a copy of The False Prince from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger. Ha ha.