Friday, December 7, 2012

False Prince

False Prince
Jennifer A. Nielsen
352 pages
Late Elementary+

Sage is an orphan, stealing food on the street and pennies from pockets.  When he is bought from his orphanage by a nobleman and taken away from all he knows, everything changes. With two other boys, he is taken to a remote mansion and the lessons begin. Instead of his biggest care being where his next meal will come from, it's figuring out what this nobleman wants and how he can escape from him. 

Sage quickly figures out that he has not been taken to be a servant, but to imitate a missing prince whom everyone assumes is dead.  With the recent death of the rest of the royal family, this noble has the plot to be the master behind a puppet prince.  But first, the noble must teach Sage or the others to become the prince. 

Sage does not like this at all.  He wants to return to his previous life, and ignore all the politics.  But when failure means death, he must succeed.  While managing to rebel at every step, Sage still becomes the favored boy to play the prince.  But the more he discovers about this plot, the less he likes it and the nobleman. 

This was a great book!  It's been on my "to read" list for a while, and now that I finally got into it, wow!  While I predicted a little of what happened, there was a lot of "oh my goodness" moments as well.  The plot has a great balance of current events, foreshadowing and action.  Very fast paced and hard to put down.

One big issue brought up: telling the truth versus lying.  Lots of people lie in this book for various reasons.   Some excuse their lies away, so are embarrassed by them, while others hide their lies.  Very few people really take responsibility for their lies.  This looks like this is the first of a series and I can see some of these lies coming back to haunt not only the villains of the story but also the hero.

Overall, I will definitely recommend this book to a lot of people.  Will definitely appeal to boys and girls, and I am very interested to see how this is evolved into a series. I would probably start around 6th grade, mostly because of violence.  No bad language or anything else like that.

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