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Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen| Website | Twitter |Release Date: April 1st, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic | Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure | Pages: 342 |

Last week I introduced a new feature and divulged that I would be talking about the fantasy genre ALOT this month. Now, every review this month won’t be about the genre, but I’m hoping several of them will as I’m trying to expand my reading and explore something a little different. So today–I’m featuring a high fantasy middle grade read that I absolutely loved, and that I think might just be fit for any fantasy reader’s list.

I borrowed a copy from my local library.
I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine. Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted every Monday at author Shannon Messenger’s blog


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.

-via book jacket

5 Reasons Why This Books is Marvelous!

  1. Fantasy novels obviously explore things that cannot happen in our real life. When I think of fantasy, I think often think of other worlds, kings and kingdoms, wizards and magic, and adventure. AKA–Lord of the Rings. In a literary sense, this type of fantasy is called high fantasy or other world fantasy. I’ll get into that (the subgenres that is) more on Thursday, but for now, The False Prince is a read that is very fitting to it’s genre classification. There are kings and kingdoms, bad guys, and princesses. And there is sword fighting. Lots and lots of sword fighting.
  2. One word for you: Sage. Yes, this is a boy-protagonist driven story (major awesomesauce for that) but Sage is a character I think all readers will absolutely love! I see him as a boy who is probably very easy to relate to for middle graders, and boy does he have an ornery side! He is defiant and strong, yet tender. This story is definitely his–and even though there were times my heart broke for him, I was so proud of his character and what he stood for. I really think that as characters go, Sage is one of my new favorites simply because he is easy to love. He’s a boy who has had a hard life, yet is so determined that his future is what he will make of it. The authenticity of his spirit is truly heartwarming, while his orneriness keeps him alive and real.
  3. Like any good fantasy, The False Prince has adventure. It may be a little different than most fantasies as there is no particular quest to kill a dragon or save a damsel, but Sage is definitely on a quest. I mean–when I think of fantasy I want the hero or heroine to be out doing something–fighting wizards or saving their friends!–not just going to “Prince school” and learning how to rule. But essentially, that’s the basis of Nielsen’s story–and it isn’t boring! Playing along with Conner’s plan to become a puppet prince isn’t an easy job, but Sage handles it well. In fact, because of his spirit he truly makes what could be a boring storyline, interesting.
  4. I’m a fan of series books simply because I love living in the world of story for as long as I can! The False Prince is the first in a trilogy, and since I’ve waited a bit to pick it up I have the second book ready to read–and hopefully the third sometime this year! I grew to love Sage as a character so dearly that I just want to spend a little more time with him and see how he continues to grow.
  5. You all know I’m a big fan of NO SPOILERS and so keeping in that theme, I’ll just tell you that The False Prince has a perfect little twist to it that I sort of saw coming yet didn’t. I mean, I hoped for it but wasn’t quite sure until Nielsen did her little thing and left me thinking this story just keeps getting better and better!

If you’re looking for a good fantasy middle grade read (or you have a middle grader who LOVES high fantasy) then this is definitely the book to pick up!

must-readBook Talk: Have you read The False Prince yet? What is it about middle grade high fantasy that makes you excited to pick up the read? Swords, dragons, damsels?