I don’t just write books for young adults–I read them, too! I remain, as always, an unrepentant science fiction and fantasy geek, and I crave both classical and fresh takes on the material I love most–you know, kings, princes, queens, dragons, aliens, dragons AND aliens are always a plus…
Genre: Fantasy, heavy on mystery and intrigue
Summary: Resourceful and cunning orphan Sage has no choice but to go with mysterious nobleman Conner when the man comes looking for boys of a certain age and appearance . . . boys who just happen to share a lot in common with the king’s long-missing son. Conner has collected himself a group of competitors, and he pits the boys against each other to see which one can impersonate the lost prince. The winner gets a kingdom. The losers get a blade to the throat. Sage has no doubt that Conner intends to make his chosen prince a puppet, and he knows Conner’s motives are far darker than Conner would have him believe. Yet if Sage doesn’t compete, he’ll die–either at Conner’s hand, or the hands of his rivals. Reality blends with lies until a shocking set of twists and turns lead Sage to the ultimate truth, which may be more dangerous than the bloody game Conner has him playing.
My Reading/Listening Experience: The audio version of The False Prince turned out to be excellent. The reading is smooth, flawless, and well-paced, highlighting fresh, lyrical prose and a plot that just won’t quit. Sage is complex and layered, a perfect blend of defiance and dedication. His rivals and Conner are believable and very real, but never predictable. Every time I thought I had things figured out, a new twist would turn my brain upside down, and sometimes I wanted to play the narrative on fast speed just to find out what would happen next.
Really Cool Stuff: Plot twists! Other books claim to have them, but compared to False Prince, they’re kidding. Really! Murdered royals stashed underneath a palace. How gross is that? Trying to figure out who the good guys are–and really being taken for a ride.
Would I Let A Younger Kid Read This: Yes. I think the plot would keep them going even if some of the nuances of good vs. evil and where those blend into gray might get missed. Some of the violence might be briefly disturbing, but nothing is gratuitous, and all would be good fodder for discussion about right, wrong, and everything in between.
Would I Give This Book To My Daughter Who Reads Everything But Is Way Pickier Than Me And Gripes If I Give Her Something Boring: No question. She’s getting it from the Christmas box, if she doesn’t find it and swipe it sooner, like she did the latest installment of the Mercy Thompson series. She’ll bug me the whole time she’s reading it to tell her what’s going to happen. I will refuse to tell her, because I am the meanest mother on Earth.
But I Don’t Like This Genre: The mystery and intrigue trump the fantasy element. You’d have to be brain-dead not to like this.
Read more about this book at http://www.jennielsen.com/books/ascendance-trilogy/the-false-prince. There will be a movie–and, and, the sequel, Runaway King, is already out!