The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
This fast-paced mystery will leave readers breathless as they follow the exploits of the orphan Sage in the kingdom of Carthya. The royal family has been poisoned, but the news has been keep secret for fear of a power-grabbing civil war. One of the king’s court has his own plan, however. The nobleman Conor selects four orphans to train as the missing prince, planning to select the best one to become his pawn after he helps the boy takes over leadership of the country. While it may sound simple and straight-forward, progress towards that goal is anything but. Readers meet all the competing orphans, but are told the story from Sage’s perspective as the most deserving, despite his sharp tongue and argumentative behavior. Sage is pretty sure that Conner’s motives are suspect at best, but fears Conner will kill the two boys who don’t win, like he did the fourth boy at the very beginning of the story.
As regular readers here know, fantasy is not my favorite genre but this book captured my attention from the beginning. Sage has the type of personality that makes it easy to identify with because he says and does what most of us keep ourselves from doing; it’s as if he has no filter between his thoughts and his tongue at all. I think readers will find it hard to put this book down, especially as it gets closer to the climax. As seems to be the trend in recent years, it is the first in a trilogy, but we already have the second title on hand in our library. I would recommend this to readers who like adventure, mysteries, suspense and fantasy.