Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1)

Release Date: April 1, 2012
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Length: 342 pages

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.


CharactersSage is an obnoxious and insolent orphan who gets dragged into a plan that could lead to his death. However, Sage is also clever, in ways that his other three rivals aren't. He is secretive, manipulative, and bold. These traits would make him an excellent choice for the prince that the ruthless and uncaring nobleman, Conner, would want on the throne, though Sage has other plans in mind. Conner is a low status nobleman and has no hopes of taking the crown of Carthya for himself, so it seems as though he wants to find someone to play the part of the longlost Prince Jaron, so that he could create a puppet king to rule over the kingdom. Though he claims loyalty to the crown and people of Carthya, Conner begins to come slightly unhinged and stops at nothing to control Sage's wild ways. While he spends time in the house, Sage befriends one of Conner's henchmen named Mott, an honest and kindly man, who helps him do his best to be the one Conner chooses to take the place of Prince Jaron. The best thing about Mott is that his motives for helping Sage are both honorable and sincere.

Romance: There was little, if any, romance in this book. The reason I'm even writing this section for this review is that there are some seeds of possible love-interests for Sage's future. Take, for instance, Imogen, one of Conner's housemaids who Sage develops a soft spot for since his mother used to be a bar maid. Even though their relationship never seemed to go beyond friendship, there are moments where a slight romantic tension is present, which may signify a possible romance between the two.

World-Building: I have to commend this author for breaking free of the world we live in, past, present, or future, and creating her own world to set her tale in. It's not easy to design your own world and keep track of the geographical points, diverse cultures, politics, as well as everything else needed to write an expansive and imaginative world.

Predictability: This was one of my favorite parts of this book. Even though the book was told from a first-person perspective, the narrator, Sage, keeps a secret from the reader for most of the book. Even though there are hints, he will still catch you off-guard with a twist that changes everything. As for the some of the smaller twists and mysteries, it's a mixture between the obvious and the unforeseen. 

Ending: You won't be shocked and awed by this ending, however like me, you may find it satisfying enough to get you through the next eight and a half months until the next installment. Even though there's no gut-wrenching cliffhanger or mind blowing twist, this is only the first in what looks to be an epic trilogy that may even give famous franchises such as The Hunger Games and, dare I say it, Harry Potter a run for their money.


I have no choice to give this book 5 crests. Not only is this an addicting read but it's also extremely fun to read. I would say head out to your local bookstore and pick up a copy today, or if you'd prefer the safer route, borrow one from your local library before making the decision to purchase this title.


  1. I have owned this since it cameout but have not gotten around to reading it yet. I think it needs to be bumped up on the TBR list! Thanks for the great review!

  2. I was hoping to read this. Looks like a good one! Thanks for the review!

  3. Look at those stars! I can't wait to try this series... it absolutely sounds like a breathtaking fantasy world.

  4. I just bought this used on Sat (in brand new condition) b/c I won the second one and really want to read it! I am super excited to have them on my shelf!