The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
I love it when my kids ask me to read books that they’ve read. I love sharing in the experience with them, discussing it with them, and hearing their reactions to special parts. This was one book that my youngest son, who is not a huge reader, has been SO excited about — so I had to read it also. The False Prince is an extremely well-written middle grade children’s book about Sage, a clever and brave orphan with an attitude. Sage learns, after being bought by a wealthy noble named Connor, that he must compete with 3 other orphans for the position of prince, to replace the lost prince of (fictitious) Corythia. Connor, who has the secret knowledge that the king, queen and older brother of the lost prince have been murdered, claims that if the lost prince and next heir to the throne is “found,” it will save Corythia from civil war. Sage rebels against Connor and disdains his plan, but he realizes that he must vie for the position in order to save both himself and his country.
The tale is somewhat reminiscent of The Hunger Games, in its competition to the death theme and in some of its gruesomeness, but it is not nearly as violent or as disturbing. It does have a torture scene, which was surprising to me for this reading level, but throughout the book there is more the threat of danger than actual danger. The story takes unexpected twists and turns and was really suspenseful till the end.
There will be a sequel, so expect to see it later in this blog!