The False Prince (Book 1)
By: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Quick-take: Well written. Not as predictable as thought.

Dan's Review

This story has been told many times. However, Jennifer A. Nielsen managed to keep me guessing.

Sage is an orphan boy picked up by a traveling nobleman in an attempt to plant the kid as the long-last prince once the original royal family is gone.

If this story sounds familiar to you, it is. I can't remember how many fake prince stories I have read. I remember a fable dating a long while back where a king had a commoner drugged and then made to wake up to be king like some kind of real life dream. The real king was watching with amusement at the man's confusion. In the story, everybody eventually kept the fake king as the real king afterwards because he was a much better ruler. There is a lesson in there...

I decided to give it a chance. After all, perhaps the journey would be good. I'm glad I did. The trials and adventures of the orphan boy Sage is very entertaining. I decided I knew which way the story would go, yet it still caught me by surprise at every major step. Rather than the hero simply reacting to all the events around him, Sage is very clever. He anticipates situations and plans for the events to unfold.

One minor nitpick is that the story takes place entirely inside Sage's head. However, we never witness him executing a plan. It always backtracks with him saying, "Yeah, I went and did that." Well, we are inside his head with the book, and that was left out. I understand why... it is for the full effect. However, the smoothness of the execution makes it hard to believe. I also have trouble believing Sage consistently lives off just a few hours of sleep to keep laying out his plans.

I'm willing to overlook those problems. Score: 5/5. I have book 2, but I am not sure it is needed. Everything was wrapped up so nice and neat with book 1. It is a trilogy, so I am giving it a shot. I like series that are complete.

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