What would life be like if you were a prince AND a pauper?

You know it’s a good book when you no sooner finish it than you start reading it again.  That’s what happened when I read Jennifer Nielsen’s fantastic middle grade, The False Prince.

The False Prince cover

Now, the tricky part of recommending this book is dodging the rotten oranges that could follow.  That’s because you’ll notice, if you look around at the reviews of this book, the one thing that gets brought up over and over is the lovely plot twists the reader is in for.  And guess what’s really easy to give away when spotlighting a book?

The plot twists, of course.  So, let me see what I can say without giving anyone the urge to throw produce.

  • It’s got great action, complete with sword fighting, runaway horses, a sewer swim, secret tunnels, and the theft of a roast.
  • It’s dark enough in the middle to satisfy the rising generation that aspires to Hunger Games intensity, while being light enough to remain a middle grade that most in the middle of that age range could probably handle.
  • The voice is fantastic, as is the main character, Sage.  Moreover, he’s genuinely clever in the way a character can only be when the writer is also clever.  Hat tip to Ms. Nielsen, there!
  • You may see some of the twists coming (I did) but it’s highly doubtful you’ll see them all.  Mt. Everest highly doubtful.

It’s also the kind of book that, if you happen to be a writer, can teach you wonderful things about the use of pov and foreshadowing to enhance your book, while still remaining true to the reader.  This was why I immediately had to read it again–I wanted to examine it to see how well certain things were established and plot seeds sewn.  And, they’re there, every one of them.  A masterful job, truly.

But at the end of the day, none of that would matter if we didn’t care about Sage and the other orphans, Tobias, Roden and Latamer, who are being forced at knife point to prepare themselves to impersonate a prince or die trying.  Because it’s really their story, and it’s amazing!

Now, let’s see what Apricot-kitty thought of it:

Cat on bench“You know any book where the character spends that much time climbing in and out of windows and slipping silently about at night is going to get my paw print of approval.  However, why had he never learned to pick a lock?  That seems a skill an orphan like him should have picked up long ago, and it would have really helped him in a certain dark and desperate place.”



A good question, and one I can’t answer.  Perhaps he just hadn’t gotten around to it yet?  Or, perhaps…but I’d best stop there.  I see the produce catapult being readied!

Needless to say, if you don’t have The False Prince on your To Read list, you should probably fix that. 😉  For more marvelous middle grade recommends and interviews, step over to Shannon’s blog.  And while we’re on books, got any that I should put on my summer reading list?  There’s a beach trip coming up, so tell me what I should take that will suit sand and sun!


16 comments to What would life be like if you were a prince AND a pauper?

  • Wasn’t that a fun one? This post reminds me that I need to go look up the 3rd. 😉

  • Ha! Me too! Because even though I only just read the first one last week…yeah, I’ve finished the 2nd. 😀 Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Cindy!

  • This was such a great book! You are so right about how there is so much to learn from it as a writer. I also loved the character’s voice.

  • This one was high on my TBR list, but somehow got buried by other titles the last few months.I’ll get to it eventually. Thanks for featuring it this week. Take a look through the archives of MMGM should get you plenty of titles for a summer break. There’s also a wealth of suggestions from this past weekend’s 48 hour book challenge at http://www.motherreader.com/. My most recent best read has been CROW by Barbara Wright.

  • This is an all time favourite of mine! I hear you on starting it as soon as you are finished, lol. The other thing that happens to me is I read slower and slower as the book comes to an end because I do not want to leave. Happy MMGM AND…you won How to Outrun a Crocodile. Will be emailing you shortly!

  • Yes–the character’s voice was fantastic, too! Good point, Andrea!

    Greg I appreciate that link, and will run check it out. And I hope you enjoy The False Prince once you dig down to it. 😀

    Awesome, Deb, sooo excited to read that one! Thanks so much for hosting the giveaway, and providing me a great book to kick off the summer!

  • lol, your question is hurting my brain. I can’t find a proper answer. 🙂
    Seriously though, I need to read these series. A lot of MMGM participants love the books so that’s enough for me.

  • Loved this entire series. I also love that it’s a YA crossover. My library houses it in both places.

  • I loved this, and the second one too. Still need to read the third book, The Shadow Throne. What do I recommend for summer beach reading? Well, I just finished WAKE UP MISSING by Kate Messner (it’s MG adventure/suspense) and I couldn’t put it down. If you’re looking for YA, try ARCHIVED by Victoria Schwab. Sophisticated plot, plus it’s in paperback now, which probably works better at the beach. 🙂

  • So sorry to hurt your head, Akoss! Here, have chocolate. That always makes mine feel better. 😉

    Barbara I didn’t know there was a YA crossover! Now, I must have it. Funny how that works, eh?

    Thanks for the recommends, Joanne! I have this vague feeling I’ve been meaning to get Wake Up Missing, so that one’s going high on the list. And I’ve enjoyed Victoria Schwab before, so I think I’ll take that one, too. I’d worry about the weight of my suitcase, but odds are I’ll read half of them before we leave! lol

  • Oh, I loved this one, Suzanne! You’re so right about how it’s a great book to study for writers. Some of the plot elements she uses were like what John Truby talks about in Anatomy of a Story–if you haven’t read that–it’s a good one for plotting ideas and analysis.

  • I’ll look that one up, Jenni! My shelf (or, I should say–shelves) of writing books always seems to have room for one more. 😉

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  • Elm

    So glad for this review to put it at the top of my list, too! I’ve wanted to read it for ages and this only cements it into my Amazon cart :). Enjoy the beach!!

  • […] Today I’m spotlighting a new (to me) series by Jennifer Nielsen, who you may remember as the author of The False Prince series.  Picking this one up was an obvious choice, since I loved Sage, who may or may not also be known as Prince Jaron, and adored all three of the Ascendance books–my spotlight’s here. […]

  • […] or anything overtly fantastic. It’s rather like The False Prince, in that respect, which was another favorite of mine. In this world the queen of Demidova is about to make a super important treaty with a neighboring […]

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