Beyond Books

The False Prince

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1)
by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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. (

Well, drat. I was all set to start off this post with “Finally, a stand-alone fantasy novel for middle grade readers!” when I noticed on Goodreads (when I was collecting my links) that it’s the first book in a TRILOGY! Gah! Phooey!

On the other hand, this book was so good, I will definitely check out the sequel to see what happens next, since I haven’t the foggiest!

The False Prince is a book that I received in a goodie bag from last Fall’s brunch with Cecil Castelucci and Scholastic Canada. Because of my stupid reading decline this year, I hadn’t actually gotten to this book before it came out. I picked it up this week because I wanted something magical and enchanting to read. Boy did I get that.

Well, not so much magical. More like plotting and murder and intrigue and really, really great characters and dialogue.

Now, if you have read this book yourself, you might be wondering why, a story about an almost-15 year old would be middle grade and not YA, I’ll tell you. This book is fun and I’d say almost completely G-rated – with the exception of some death and fighting. But the book is not dark in any way. Sage is a delightfully snarky and intelligent protagonist who will charm the pants off you, the reader.

The other boys in this story are interesting characters, each with their own very different strengths and weaknesses. Connor’s “henchmen” are also compelling characters.

There was something just so fantastical and adventurous about this story. It made me think of the excitment that is Peter Pan or some sort of Pirate-y High Seas adventure.

Ooooh! I’d even compare it to my favourite of last year – Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes! Only a lot less magical. There’s no magic here, folks. The story, however, FEELS magical because of how awesome it is.

I read this book in just a few hours. It was so good I didn’t do anything else and even carried it with me around the house if I had to get up to pee or find something to eat. I did not want to put this down because the story just kept getting better and better.

I was just on the author’s Goodreads page trying to find out the information about book 2 and I see there was supposed to be an announcement today (May 31st, though I’m back dating this to get my reviews all in the May month =P), alas, there’s not been an announcement or cover reveal as of yet. Perhaps by the time I hit publish on this in the morning there will be and I will make sure to include that information with this post.

Either way, despite my exhaustion over Series, I am looking forward to spending more time with Sage and the world that he lives in.

The Ascendance Trilogy

  1. The False Prince
  2. The Runaway King
  3. Untitled – 2014


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