The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)

Title: The False Prince

Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen

Sage is an orphan with a penchant for getting into trouble. Which is why his adoption comes as such a surprise–he was sure he was too much for anyone to want, and he likes it that way. But the man who bought him has other plans. Plans to involve him, or one of the other boys that were chosen, in a plot to overthrow the kingdom from within. . .

This was an engaging, quick read, even if the major plot points were obvious before I was all that far into the book. Three boys competing for a chance to play at being the prince? Great, except the fact that the book is in first person point of view is a dead giveaway which one will be chosen. And the big reveal is visible way too early by what isn’t said–lack of detail can be as telling as detail (being vague all the time about a specific topic either means lazy writing or that there’s something the author is trying to hide).

That said, the book certainly has its charm. Sage isn’t like the other boys bought for Conner’s schemes. He’s intelligent enough to spot what Conner intends, and horrified by the treason. But he also doesn’t have any real opportunity to escape, so he’s got to get by long enough to figure out how to slip away from Conner for good. So he fills the time by making trouble. Lots of trouble. For everything Conner does to try to break him, Sage has some retort that usually gets him into more trouble.

And there are several moments where he comes to some good realizations—like learning how his feast with some orphans caused them to go hungry for the next week because he’d fed them the entire week’s allotment of food in one night. There’s almost a sense that although he can’t control his mouth, he’s learning something from his actions.

The ending wraps up well, though I can see there is a sequel. Still, the story will stand alone. Sage’s strong personality drives the book quite well, and it will be interesting to see where future adventures takes him (though I do hope the suggested love triangle is avoided). I rate this book Recommended.

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