The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen | Teen Ink

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

August 10, 2014
By Caesar123 DIAMOND, Union Grove, Wisconsin
Caesar123 DIAMOND, Union Grove, Wisconsin
50 articles 7 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go" --Claudius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

I have to say fantasy is probably one of my favorite genres. Whether it’s Lord of the Rings, Eragon, or another heavy hitting series, being transported to a land of magic, dragons, and kings of old is a great way to spend an afternoon and unwind.

However, Jennifer A. Nielsen’s book, The False Prince, while still very much a fantasy novel, is devoid of the elves and witchcraft that make up the aforementioned tales. I don’t fault The False Prince at all for this. In fact, I think it makes it a much more worthwhile novel, in that it does what it does without the typical trimmings of Tolkien’s fantasy.

The book begins with our hero (or antihero as it might seem) Sage running through the streets of Carchar, a stolen roast tucked beneath his arm and an angry butcher at his heels. Don’t worry though, Sage has done this trick before (though as he says not exactly with a whole roast). He’s pretty good at it too, and very nearly gets away, except for the small fact that someone sticks out their foot and trips him. Who could’ve been so careless as to leave their foot lying casually about? Well none other than the servant of Bevin Conner. Who is Bevin Conner, you might ask? Only one of the twenty regents appointed by the king of Carthya to help rule and govern the land.

Though the butcher does catch up, Conner saves Sage from any serious harm and in the process takes him from the orphanage where he’s been staying and recruits him for a dangerous and potentially rewarding task. Conner has taken Sage and two other boys from different orphanages (Tobias and Roden) and will have them attempt to impersonate the long lost prince.

Returning to his mansion at Farthenwood, Conner instructs the boys that they’ll have two weeks to prove to him that they can successfully fool the court into thinking they’re the long lost Prince Jaron. Jaron was sailing to another land when his ship was attacked by pirates four years prior. He was presumed dead, though his body was never found. Conner reveals that in two weeks time a new king will be chosen at the court because not only is Jaron assumed dead, but King Eckbert, his wife, and Jaron’s brother Darius have been found poisoned and dead as well, leaving the kingdom of Carthya without a rightful heir. The king’s regents will attempt to choose a new king, but odds are more likely that the country will plunge into civil war, thus allowing its devious neighbors to move in and slice up the nation.

Which of the three boys will Conner choose to impersonate Prince Jaron? How will these three boys live in the same mansion for two weeks without killing one another? Will another regent discover Conner’s plan before he’s ready? All of these questions and more are answered in Jennifer A. Nielsen’s The False Prince.

Now, I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. Since I had seen my kid sister reading it before I took a swing, I thought that maybe it’d be no good. It’d be a book for middle schoolers, and the plot would be too dumb or too slow or both for me to be able to stay engaged. Lucky for me, none of that proved true. The plot is complex and twisting, with different characters engaged in a battle of wits while putting on a pleasant face. All of the subtle subplots are really enticing and each character’s motivation draws the reader farther into the story.

Now the only qualm I had with this book was the end. Be forewarned, if you really enjoy the book up till the end, you’ll be disappointed a bit. On the major plot points I was satisfied. On some of the minor ones, I was really let down. From the end of a romance to the downright odd decisions made by some characters, I was disheartened. My hunch is that there is nothing wrong with Ms. Nielsen herself, but her editor got sloppy or slipped up a bit at the end, thus leaving some perplexing and disappointing conclusions. Like I said though, everything ties up nicely on the major plot points, and there is no slip up great enough to prevent me from reading the rest of the series.

While I gave it a solid A (almost A+) all the way through, the end was a bit of a let down. Not to fear however, Jennifer A. Nielsen’s book is still worth a look.

I rate it 3.5/5 stars.

The author's comments:
I read this book as part of my school's Battle of the Books competition. If you’d like to see other reviews I’ve wrote on other B.O.B. books, then take a look at my profile. Thanks!

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This article has 2 comments.

on Apr. 12 2015 at 10:25 pm
Caesar123 DIAMOND, Union Grove, Wisconsin
50 articles 7 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go" --Claudius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

I have not read either of the sequels, though if you say the answers are in there, I might just have to take a look. Thank you for your compliments.

on Feb. 3 2015 at 7:17 pm
CNBono17 SILVER, Rural, South Carolina
5 articles 0 photos 248 comments

Favorite Quote:
Lego ergo sum (Latin—I read, therefore, I am)
The pen is mightier than the sword—unknown
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity—1 Timothy 4:12

Have you read the runaway king or the shadow throne? Those are the other two books in the trilogy (in that order) and the answers you're looking for, to most if not all of those conclusions, are in there. Well-written review, though, and I commend you for not giving away the ending:)