Friday, February 5, 2016

The Ascendance Trilogy #1: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)Sage and two other boys are bought from orphanages by a man named Connor. Connor informs them that the king, queen, and prince of Carthya have been murdered, and the country may fall into civil war. He has a plan to announce one of them as the lost Prince Jaron, thought to have died four years ago, and that boy will become king. The boys are trained in reading, horseback riding, swordsmanship, and manners, but Sage is uncooperative. He is stubborn and defiant, even though he knows the two boys not chosen will be killed. Sage refuses to be controlled by the man, but he knows that he is the only boy who can pull off this scheme. Connor's motives are questionable; he's already murdered a fourth boy taken from an orphanage. Secrets will be revealed, but will Sage and Carthya be able to survive?

This book was nominated for a 2011 Cybils award in middle grade speculative fiction, although it seemed like realistic fiction to me. It couldn't have happened in today's world, but there was nothing magical or fantasy about it. I really enjoyed Sage's character. He was the belligerent boy described above, but he cared about others. It was strange to see other characters start caring for him, because he was such a pain in the butt. Connor was an effective protagonist, as he created a dangerous element to the plot and kept his true plans secret. The author dropped hints throughout the book, but she still left some surprises for the end. Overall, I loved the book and am anxious to read the sequel.

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