Series: The Ascendance Trilogy #1
Published by Scholastic on 4/1/12
Genres: YA High Fantasy
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THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.
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.
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
Interest in Book
I saw this title on Scholastic’s list and requested it because it sounded intriguing, entertaining and mysterious. It was all these things, and I am really glad I’ve been introduced to the author. I plan to read more of her work because she is a great storyteller. Also, Small Review really sold it with her review!
I really loved the world-building. It was simple and to the point, with political intrigue and betrayal at every corner. There is an imagined world but no fantasy elements of any kind, at least not in this book. Apparently the king in place is weak, according to those who want to dethrone him. The countries surrounding Carthya are looking for any way to bring down the royal and take over the land. The King’s youngest son, Jaron, was lost at sea when pirates attacked his ship, but as one would expect, his body was never recovered. It seems as though this young Prince is key to bringing back peace and prosperity to Carthya.
We first meet Sage as he is running through the streets with a roast in his hands as the deli owner relentlessly chases after him. Sage is quick and sneaky, but he trips over an unfortunately placed foot in an alleyway, where a nobleman saves his ass from losing a hand, or something. This nobleman, Conner, whisks him away from the orphanage, against Sage’s wishes. Conner has big plans for Sage, along with 3 other orphans, and Sage is set on a course that will change his life drastically.
Sage is full of WIN. His sarcasm and snark made me laugh out loud many times. This young man hands back everything given to him, and then some. Dude’s got swagger in spades. He is FULL of fire, spunk, spirit, soul. Regardless of the abuse that he receives from Conner and his lackeys, Sage’s light never goes out. This is a character you will adore immediately. It’s hard to deny him. Not too mention, he is incredibly smart, witty, tricky and a masterful actor. Sage has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and he will no doubt surprise the gold from out of your pocket.
Conner, a King’s regent or something of that nature, is an insidious bastard. With a capital B. You will no doubt agree immediately. He harbors lots of secrets and wears his maliciousness on his sleeve. He sees nothing wrong with whipping young boys who disobey his will, his idea of breaking them like a wild horse. He is manipulative and uses the idea that only the chosen one shall live as a way to cause unease and suspicion among the boys. And of course, the suspicion stirs the pot, and each boy eventually reveals his own grand plan to ensure he is chosen as the crowned fraud.
Mott, Conner’s right-hand man, is someone who interested me greatly. He was that unfortunate foot that Sage trips over in the beginning, so the two do not get off on the right, er, foot. Their relationship morphs over the course of the book, however, and it appears that Mott has some admirable qualities about him, after all. I look forward to his role in future books. Imogen, a mute servant in Conner’s establishment, catches Sage’s eye, and their relationship is extremely interesting to watch unfold. It’s almost hard to call it romance, because there was nothing romantic about it, but I assume the buds of a beautiful love flower have been planted, as she slowly comes to respect Sage’s brazen, unapologetic personality. Plus, he respects and sticks up for her on countless occasion. In her eyes, he is causing her more trouble by doing so, but honestly, what woman can resist a man who sticks his neck out for her?
I cannot express how AWESOME the revelations and twists and treachery in this book were. I was so pleased and so entertained by the turn of events about 75% through the story. It was brilliant, and the explanation of it all had me confused and questioning if what I read was real or part of the grand plan. It was fantastic and I loved the mystery and jaw-dropping moment. The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but Sage has big plans, peeps. I cannot wait to accompany him on the treacherous road to glory.
“I’ve got to go.”
“To go. I’d have just taken care of it myself, but it looks like you want to come along.”
Mott cursed. “Wait for morning.”
“Wish I could. I’ve been cursed with my mother’s pea-size bladder.”
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